Miniature Models Copyright

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Miniature Models Copyright

Post by cannonking » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:13 pm

Until recently, copyright for industrial design was limited to twenty five years. In the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act of 2013 however, this was extended to the life of the artist plus 70 years. ... es/enacted

This modification is only due to take effect as of April 2020 however. Until then, as far as I can see, you are legally permitted to manufacture and sell copies of anything that is more than twenty five years out of date. Once you hit 2020, you are legally permitted to continue to sell these items, but not to manufacture them any longer.

Following the above reasoning, is it not the case that it would be possible to legally reproduce and sell miniature soldiers which were manufactured on an industrial scale (think Games Workshop, Ral Partha, and other such models) prior to 1995 in the short gap before the new legislation kicks in?

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Re: Miniature Models Copyright

Post by AndyJ » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:27 am

Hi cannonking,

Unfortunately the article written by Richard Willoughby on the DYoung website rather jumped the gun in that it was written before the statutory instrument which effected the change had been promulgated. Here's the SI which sets out the actual timetable. As you can see from article 5, the so-called 'depletion date' was 28 January 2017. However it is worth noting that the IPO has issued guidance on the application of copyright to articles which have been reproduced in quantity, which says (I'm summarising) that only works bearing a significant quality of artistic craftsmanship will qualify for the 'new' protection. We have yet to see how the courts will interpret this, but I think that the Star Wars Storm Trooper helmet case gives us a good indication of what might or might not qualify.

Also, before embarking on your suggestion you would need to consider if either UK or European Design Right applied to the model soldiers. In theory if the models were first produced over 25 years ago (ie in order to be clear of any old section 52 protection) then any design right protection would also have elapsed.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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