Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 currently limits copyright protection for artistic works which have been industrially manufactured: where more than 50 copies of any such artistic works have been made by or with the licence of the copyright owner the period of copyright protection is limited to 25 years.
The Intellectual Property Office has published the government’s response to its consultation on the repeal of section 52 and has announced that the repeal will come into force on 6 April 2020. The government has also announced that it will exercise its powers to ensure that businesses trading in copies of industrially manufactured 2D and 3D artistic works will have an indefinite period to sell off existing copies, are prevented from making or importing new unlicensed copies and may freely deal with existing copies after the repeal comes into force.
Therefore, after 6 April 2020 all artistic works, including those that have been industrially reproduced, will benefit from the full term of copyright protection of the life of the author plus 70 years.
This article is part of DesignWrites for July 2015