Changes to UK Design Right & Copyright

Hello Everyone!

I would like to alert artists, designers, photographers & bloggers to a small number of, but significant changes in UK Design Right & Copyright this month. There are a large number of changes outlined in the useful guides embedded above, however here is a brief summary for the bewildered.

You might be shocked to know if you are a blogger and be consumed by utter glee if a photographer that the law on ‘Quotation’ under ‘news’ & ‘fair dealing’ has changed’. So bloggers beware, the taking of photographs e.g. from Vogue for instance to use on your blog to illustrate news of a recent fashion show for example is no longer regarded as fair dealing. The change is if using a photograph without the consent of the copyright holder could be regarded as conflicting with the copyright owner’s e.g. the original photographer or magazine’s right to exploit that work, e.g. make some more money from selling or licensing that image. If your use of that image, (especially reproducing whole images, or numbers of images from another businesses website) should cause the owner to lose potential income then its now likely to be viewed not as ‘fair use’.

This is a most welcome change in the law as photographers are having their ability to make money from official licensing squashed by copycat style bloggers who just think they can re-publish other photographer’s images carte blanche. This frankly has quite incensed me for years. Yes that’s right, if you can’t be bothered to try to take or commission your own photographs then original photography costs. However it also depends on the original copyright owner’s ability to spot this and take action against infringers, so its likely we might have to wait for a test case, to see how this new law will fully benefit photographers in the future.

Regarding Design Right, there have been a number of important new rights in this revision of Intellectual Property Law, I really advise you to read the full guide in the link above. But in short, some key changes are, when a designer is now commissioned to create a design it is the designer who will now holds the rights, and not the client, unless the contract agreed should state otherwise. It is now also illegal to intentionally copy and reproduce a registered design commercially.

If you are new to the subject of Intellectual Property then I suggest (shamelessly recommending my own book) The Essential Guide to Business for Artists & Designers – Revised and Updated. I also offer one to one business advice an guidance on copyright, design right, protecting your IP, and trademark, feel free to contact me on alison@alisonbranagan.com though it is quite possible if your situation is quite serious I will point you in the right direction to a friendly IP solicitor. By the way this is me at the lovely New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham talking on this very subject!

Please feel free to quote from this blog, but please remember to credit me as the author and link back.


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