Changes to UK copyright law will soon mean that you may need to take out a licence to photograph classic designer objects even if you own them. That’s the result of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which extends the copyright of artistic objects like designer chairs from 25 years after they were first marketed, to 70 years after the creator’s death. In most cases that will be well over a hundred years after the object was designed. During that period, taking a photo of the item will often require a licence from the copyright owner, regardless of who owns the particular object in question.
The UK government is holding a consultation into when this change should enter into force: after a six-month, three-year, or five-year transitional period. The Digital Reader quotes an article in The Bookseller that puts the starting date as October 2016, but without citing its source. In any case, the change is definitely coming, and quite soon.
As with the recent announcement that it is once again illegal to make private copies of music you own, it is unlikely that the public will pay much attention to this latest example of copyright being completely out of touch with how people actually use digital technology. But for professionals, the consequences will be serious, and not so easily ignored.
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