Intellectual property rights


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A beautiful fossil harpes trilobite for sale


Intellectual property rights

Creator copyright; Copyright is vested automatically in the creator.

Direct artwork, and Art CAD designs of any and all forms made by THE FOSSIL STORE™ on or after 1 August 1989 is automatically the first owner of any copyright in it (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA)). The predecessor of the CDPA, the Copyright Act 1956, provided for the same. Exception to the rule, including for literary, or artistic works made by Crown copyright, parliamentary copyright and copyright owned by certain international organisations. The copyright protection of works created by artificial intelligence was recently under consideration by the Intellectual Property Office in a consultation that ran from October 2021 to January 2022. The government sought evidence and views on a range of options on how AI should be dealt with in the patent and copyright systems. The Government’s conclusions confirm that it does not plan changes to the law for computer-generated works due to the difficulty of providing an accurate evaluation of the options and the risk that changes to the law could have unintended consequences. With exception; all THE FOSSIL STORE™ artwork, and Art CAD designs of any and all forms are further enhanced and digitally rendered in-house by THE FOSSIL STORE™ to certify the THE FOSSIL STORE™ copyright to and all THE FOSSIL STORE™ designs. No changes to UK patent law required for AI-devised inventions.

Duration of copyright protection

Artistic works: 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies;
works of joint authorship or co-authorship: 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last known author dies; works of unknown authorship: copyright expires at the end of the period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made or if, during that period, the work is made available to the public, at the end of the period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which it is first made available; and computer-generated literary, or artistic works: 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made. Display without right holder's consent. Can an artwork protected by copyright be exhibited in public without the copyright owner’s consent?

Yes, for paintings, sculptures and other artistic works. However, the moral rights of the author, unless expressly waived, have to be respected at all times.In addition, under the CDPA, consent is required to show work in public.

Reproduction of copyright works in catalogues and adverts

Can artworks protected by copyright be reproduced in printed and digital museum catalogues or in advertisements for exhibitions without the copyright owner’s consent? Under English Law, two exceptions permit the reproduction of an artwork in printed and digital catalogues or in advertisements for exhibitions without the copyright owner’s consent. Under the first exception, the copyright owner’s consent is not required for the illustration of the artwork in a catalogue or marketing brochure advertising its sale, provided that the catalogue or marketing brochure makes clear that the artwork is for sale. Once the work has been sold or the right to sell the work expires (ie, the consignment agreement with the owner; THE FOSSIL STORE™ expires), this exemption no longer applies. Care needs to be taken following the sale to obtain copyright consent for any further commercial use of the image of the sold artwork.

In addition, the fair dealing exception permits the limited use of copyright material without consent from the copyright owner for the purpose, among others, of criticism and review. Through specific enquiry with the direct copyright holder; a free leaflet or catalogue that includes guidance or commentary on the nature and purpose of the artworks in the exhibition may be regarded as fair upon consent from THE FOSSIL STORE™. Advertisements, however, are less likely to fall within the scope of this exception unless agreed upon with THE FOSSIL STORE™.

In general, museums, auction houses and galleries considering reproducing an artwork protected by copyright in catalogues and advertisements will need to carefully consider the exemptions under English law and the context before reproducing the artwork without consent. Consent is required directly from THE FOSSIL STORE™ to pass English law.

Copyright in public artworks

Certain categories of artistic works may be reproduced without the copyright owner’s consent if they are permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public. These include buildings, sculptures, models for buildings and works of artistic craftsmanship. Copyright in these works is not infringed by making a graphic work representing it, taking a photograph or making a film of it, or broadcasting a visual image of it.

Artist's resale rights

The artist’s resale right (ARR), also known as the droit de suite, applies in the UK. The ARR entitles authors of original works of art in which copyright subsists and their successors in title to a royalty each time one of their works is resold through an auction house or an art market professional. The right to this royalty lasts for the same period as copyright in that work of art. The ARR only applies when the sale price reaches or exceeds the sterling equivalent of £1,000 and is calculated on a sliding scale as follows:

Agreed royalty portion resale pricing

4% up to £50,000
3% between £50,000.01 and £200,000
1% between £200,000.01 and £350,000
0.5% between £350,000.01 and £500,000
0.25% in excess of £500,000

Royalties are also capped so that the total amount of the royalty paid for any single sale cannot exceed £12,500. ARR is exempt from VAT.

Collective management of ARR is compulsory in the UK. The two main collecting societies are the Artists’ Collecting Society and the Design and Artists Copyright Society, which collect and distribute the royalty. ARR continues to apply in the UK.

Moral rights waived or assigned

Under English law, moral rights for visual artists are personal rights that apply to artistic works. They were introduced by the CDPA and, therefore, only apply to artists living on or after 1 August 1989. The rights are as follows:

The paternity right: the right to be identified as the author or director of a copyright work, which lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years; the right of integrity: the right to object to derogatory treatment of a copyright work, which lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years; false attribution: the right not to have a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work falsely attributed to him or her as author and not to have a film falsely attributed to him or her as director, which lasts for the life of the author plus 20 years; and the right of privacy: the right to privacy of certain films and photographs, which lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

Moral rights can be waived contractually. If a waiver is agreed, its terms should be specific so as to avoid uncertainty and should include, among other things, a detailed description of the specific work, whether the waiver is subject to conditions or subject to revocation, and whether it extends to licensees and successors in title to the owner (or prospective owner) of the copyright in the work.

Moral rights cannot be assigned; they will remain with the creator of the work and continue to pass on to the artist’s estate.