The repeal of Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act, (1988) would extend the copyright on furniture designs from 25 up to 70 years after a designer’s death. This means that any retailers selling replicas once the act is repealed could face a fine of up to £50,000 and a jail sentence of up to ten years.
The law not only applies to physical product, but licensors will also have the power to charge for representations of the designs in the media too.
A spokesperson for the Intellectual Property Office said the changes are being made in order to bring copyright protection for works of artistic craftsmanship into line with other artistic creations like paintings and sculptures.
‘It is important that creators are rewarded for their work,’ said the spokesperson.
The repeal was originally planned to happen in 2020, to give retailers time to adapt but the Government recently decided to fast track this date to April 28th 2016. This means that from this date retailers will have six months to sell any stock that is a deemed a design copy.
However, designers may have to wait a bit longer until this law is passed. The Government have announced a delay in the final decision, which means the April 28th enforcement date is potentially off the cards for the moment.