The repeal of section 52 of the CDPA and the details of the transitional arrangements have not exactly been straightforward, so the publication of a new draft order is to be welcomed in bringing the matter closer to a conclusion and providing some certainty for businesses.
Hopefully, the inclusion of a depletion period for existing stocks will mitigate some of the burdens on businesses that purchased items in good faith prior to the judicial review challenge to the 5-year transition period in the original order made in March 2015.
Section 52 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) limits to 25 years the duration of copyright in artistic works that have been exploited with the copyright owner's consent by making, using an industrial process (which applies where more than 50 articles are made), articles which amount to copies of the work. Section 74 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 will repeal section 52 of the CDPA on a date to be appointed by a commencement order. The repeal of section 52 means that articles to which the section applies will have full copyright protection for the period of the life of the author plus 70 years, and will bring the UK in line with most other EU member states. Consequently, where previously a copy of a copyright work would have benefited from the exception to copyright provided by section 52, such a copy will in future be an infringing copy. The new draft order provides that the repeal will now take place on 28 July 2016, with a depletion period for existing stock until 28 January 2017. The Intellectual Property Office has published a detailed guidance document to assist businesses and individuals affected by the forthcoming repeal.