Monday, November 21, 2016

Consumers caught out as UK firms furnished with crippling copyright laws; Guardian, 11/21/16

Anna Tims, Guardian; Consumers caught out as UK firms furnished with crippling copyright laws:
"Voga, it transpires, reinvented itself as an Irish company in May to escape new UK copyright laws that would have rendered much of its merchandise illegal. There’s no mention of the relocation on its website, which also does not give an address, and the FAQs on delivery and extra charges are silent on the issue. Only deep down in the terms and conditions is it mentioned that customers must arrange their own delivery from Ireland.
McGrath is an early casualty of a change in British legislation which has made it a criminal offence to sell replicas of design icons without a pricey licence. The amendment to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which came in to force in July, retrospectively extends the design rights to unregistered classic works created after 1957 from 25 years after their launch to 70 years after the designer’s death. This sounds the death knell for affordable replicas of 20th-century bestsellers such as the Arco floor lamp and Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chair and threatens to put scores of companies that supply them out of business.
A further proposed rule change will slap copyright on iconic pre-1957 designs which never qualified for copyright protection in the first place, making it a criminal offence to incorporate any element of them into a new work. This means that anyone without a licence from the copyright holder who is selling , for example, the Finn Juhl-inspired chair bought by McGrath could face a £50,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. Householders who want to get the look will now have to fork out thousands rather than hundreds for a piece of furniture, and magazines will be penalised if they show photos of items protected by the copyright without buying a licence."

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