Keep it Copyright!

There are over 11,000 design consultancies in the UK, half of which work in digital and multi-media design. It is acknowledged by Government that “creative industries are a vital part of the UK’s economy” generating “around 6.4% of GDP and employing 1.9 million people” and that the collective fee incomes and budgets of UK design businesses alone “amounts to £16bn” the UK’s creative industries form a greater proportion of its GDP than any other nation!

One might expect that such a contribution would result in pressure being exerted by the industry to ensure its output is protected by copyright, but perhaps because of the competitive nature of design and marketing agencies and consultancies, this appears not to be the case.

What is more, despite acknowledgement across Europe of design as an economic and creative force, on the whole EU legislation has not kept pace with working practices and technological innovation in the creative industries. Legislation lags behind in recognising the modern design process in all its iterations and designers can often find that materials they have created may not satisfy the legal requirements for copyright because traditional legal concepts of ‘originality’ and ‘authorship’ do not sit comfortably with their working methods and technology used.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has recently acknowledged that the balance that once existed between rights holders and those seeking to use copyright works has tipped too far away from creators due to the development of new technologies and the ever-increasing worldwide use of the internet. Until new legislation is proposed which addresses concerns about the lack of clarity in protection of CAD and computer-generated materials and broadens the availability of protection for such works if you are in doubt, take legal advice about how to protect your work and keep it copyright!

For advice on copyright law contact me here or on jef@jgrlaw.co.uk

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