A recent extension of UK copyright for industrially manufactured artistic works represents “a direct assault on the 3D printing revolution,” says Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge. The UK government last month extended copyright for designs from 25 years to the life of the designer plus 70 years. In practice, this is likely to mean a copyright term of over 100 years for furniture and other designed objects.
As Ars reported last year, a consultation was held by the UK government on how long the transitional period for the new rules should be. Originally, the new copyright term was due to come into force at the end of April, but following the consultation the government granted a further three months, which ended on July 28. In addition, there is a six-month “depletion period” for contracts in place prior to the consultation. This will conclude on January 28, 2017.
Writing on the Private Internet Access site, Falkvinge says that the copyright extension will have important consequences for makers 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.”
Falkvinge points out a crucial difference between the previous UK protection for designs, which was based on what are called “design rights” plus a short copyright term, and the situation now, which involves design rights and a much-longer copyright term. With design rights, “you’re absolutely and one hundred percent free …