August 9, 2016
The extension of the UK copyright on designed objects is set to affect 3D print users.
Ars Technica reported that the new law now comes with a copyright of 70-plus years, having been extended from 25 years. The extension means that copyright for designs will be protected for the life of the designer plus 70 years, and Pirated Party founder Rick Falkvinge said that this is “a direct assault on the 3D printing revolution”.
The UK government held a consultation on “how long the transitional period” should be and have extended the period while asking for views and this will be concluded 28 January 2017. Falkinge wrote on the Private Internet Access site, saying that the extension of the copyright law will have serious outcomes for those using 3D printers in the UK and EU.
“This change means that people will be prohibited from using 3D printing and other maker technologies to manufacture such objects, and that for a full century,” he stated, and pointing out the difference between the “previous UK protection for designs”, he said that with the old law for protection of designs there were “design rights and a short copyright term” which meant that “you’re absolutely and one hundred percent free to make copies of it for your own use with your own tools and materials”.
He added however: “When something is under copyright, you are not. Therefore, this move is a direct assault on the 3D printing revolution.” Andrew Katz, a legal expert and partner at Moorcrofts LLP, said in an email to Ars Technica that he agreed with Falkvinge, stating: “It would seem that this analysis is correct. It’s not something I’ve analysed with respect to design rights, but I’ve been waiting for something similar to happen with utility patents (which have a specific exemption for private implementation/use) with a view to attacking 3D printing.”
Falkvinge claimed: “Moving furniture design from a [design right] to copyright law means that people can and will indeed be prosecuted for manufacturing their own furniture using their own tools.” The report concludes by saying that the new legislation outcome may not have been the UK government’s intention when it “extended the copyright on designs”, but “the tendency for copyright holders to apply the law as broadly as possible” will no doubt be an “important consequence”.
Categories : Products and Technology