Jul 28, 2015

End of an ERRA: Government Revokes Repeal of 25 year Limit of Copyright Protection

On 20 July 2015, Baronness Neville-Rolfe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills signed off on Statutory Instrument 2015 No. 1558:

"The Secretary of State in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 100 and 103(3) and (4) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013(1), makes the following Order:

 The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (Commencement No. 8 and Saving Provisions) Order 2015(2) is revoked."

With these words the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 ("ERRA") was revoked.

The significance of the revocation of ERRA is that buried within the sections of the Act was a section dealing with the revocation of section 52 Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988 ("Section 52"), exploitation of design from artistic work.

Section 52 limited the rights period of an artistic work exploited via an industrial process to the end of the calendar period 25 years after the work was first marketed.  In this instance, industrial exploitation typically meant making more than 50 copies of an artistic work.  This is of particular importance when this limitation is read in contrast to the life of author plus 70 years protection available to rights holders of non-industrially exploited artistic works.

News of the repeal of the 25 year limit on rights protection was greeted in a positive fashion by rights holders as discussed in our earlier post, however, the subsequent revocation of this repeal has now left the industry in a state of flux.  Authors of works no longer have the surety of statute and a certainty of long existing rights, but equally, businesses that are dependent on making unlicensed use of artistic works are equally affected by the lack of certainty the revocation has introduced.

The Government intends to launch a consultation addressing the issue of harmonising any new legislation with that of European Union Law and how best to attend to the transitional arrangement and date of implementation of any future repeal.

in: Copyright, Designs, News

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