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UK citizens may soon need licenses to photograph some stuff they already own (arstechnica.com)
255 points by jfasi on Dec 14, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 135 comments

What I miss in this kind of articles is more details in how this kind of laws are cooked.

They say "the UK government", OK, but who in the UK government, and who is really behind. Not that we don't know, but making the process explicit would be helpful.


> 1. Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) limits the term of copyright protection for industrially exploited artistic works to 25 years. The Government had previously consulted on how and when to implement the repeal of section 52 CDPA and made a decision to have a transitional period of 5 years from April 2015. This meant that the repeal of section 52 would have come into effect in April 2020 and existing stock which had been made or imported prior to this date would have been unaffected by the repeal.

> 2. However, the compatibility of these arrangements with EU law was challenged by way of a judicial review and the Government decided to reconsider the issue, as announced on the Government’s website on 23 July 2015. This consultation covers the areas which are now being considered as part of the repeal of section 52 CDPA.

Thanks for the link. I get lost in the legalese but found a easy explanation somewhere:


I find interested and sensible this distinction (even if I think 25 years is too much):

"When more than 50 copies have been made of such an artistic work, the period of copyright protection is limited to 25 years after the work is first marketed, in comparison to other artistic works which are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. In practical terms, this means, for example, that furniture manufacturers and importers could start manufacturing and importing furniture that qualified as industrially-manufactured artistic works once the initial 25 year copyright protection had expired."

The fact that this rational exception is going to be eliminated in order to harmonize with EU law just push the issue of 'who' to Brussels.

It seems that there is a great tradition of harmonizing copyright always to the most draconian terms.

So that implies that there is currently in force copyright protection for "industrially exploited artistic works" and that the change is to extend the period of protection.

Given that there is not currently an issue with needing a licence to include a protected object in a photo, I'd like to understand what other changes are coming to make this happen - or if Ars has misunderstood the issue.

The UK is bringing some copyright law in line with the EU, eg they just ruled that reproductions of out of copyright pictures do not create a new copyright, unlike what some museums like to tell you. This might be related, certainly design is more protected in eg France than in the UK, not sure though.

> they just ruled that reproductions of out of copyright pictures do not create a new copyright

That's great news. Do you have a link?

[citation-needed] - I have yet to see such abomination as mandated by EU. (OTOH, there's always the convenient excuse of "we don't like this either, but the Evil Union is forcing us to do this, we have no choice!!!")

Won't this severely affect movies and television? I imagine a huge number of movies and television shows have at least some piece from a classic designer and I can't imagine Hollywood is going to track down who owns the licensing rights for every set piece, building, article of clothing, etc. ahead of time just to show it in the UK.

If you see a designed object in a movie the brand owner will have paid to put it there. That's why films have all Samsung devices or all Apple devices, all Mercedes or all BMW cars, all Armani wardrobes or all some other designer, and so on. Brands pay millions to be seen on screen. Hollywood knows how to tap every imaginable source of money.

> If you see a designed object in a movie the brand owner will have paid to put it there.

While paid product placement does exist and is widespread, this statement isn't correct. There are many examples of organic product placement, where the set/costume designer uses a particular product without any financial incentive.

In fact for example Apple has confirmed repeatedly for many years that they don't pay for product placement.

They do pay, but they pay in hardware.

They have dedicated staff to promote product placement and according to a Hollywood movie maker, "Apple won’t pay to have their products featured, but they are more than willing to hand out an endless amount of computers, iPads, and iPhones".

It is actually a very unethical practice if you think about it in monetary terms. Rather than paying the film company above the table like ethical companies usually do, they outright bribe the prop department staff by giving each of them gifts worth thousands of dollars for preferential product placement.

Thata a bit of a leap to go from "they hand out free hardware" to "they bribe staff with free hardware."

If "they" means "for profit entity" those two statements are exactly the same in my ears.

The difference is that the former means the free hardware likely goes to the production company and is not available for personal use. It's not a moral quibble, but a question of who owns the stuff and who gets to use it.

Apple gives desirable stuff to the production company.

Who gets the stuff when the filming has finished?

I imagine that the production company would keep it for their next project, or sell it to recover some money. Are you implying that this stuff is typically gifted to the employees instead?

Companies sell equipment they don't need to their employees at seriously reduced price.

Why would they sell equipment below market price?

Because selling takes effort.

Yes, I'm saying that employees would keep it.

Isn't that how hollywood accounting works?

I have no idea, but I would have thought companies would frown on expensive equipment walking out the door like that.

You seem to have a strange sense of morality. Looks like good marketing to me.

Good marketing and moral are completely orthogonal.

Let's be honest: the set, prop, and wardrobe designers want to use Apple anyway, because the devices are simply more attractive. The company just makes it easy for them.

That's not any more unethical than Bacardi showing up at a bar and handing out Bacardi shirts for the staff and free rum to the patrons.

sure it is. the macbook thing would be more analogous to a bar where only one or two drinks were available to customers, and the owners of the bar delegate the decision of which drinks to their bartenders, and bacardi promises tons of perks to the bartenders if bacardi rum is the only beverage available.

I don't think it's actually a bad thing, but your analogy was weak. In your scenario, Apple gets much, much more of a benefit than bacardi would, and the bartenders get much less of a perk than the set dressers would.

If I'm following your logic correctly, you believe it is less ethical for a company to benefit too much from a promotion, even if that promotion has no apparent ill effects.

Did I mischaracterize your stance?

no, it's less ethical the closer you get to the crime of bribery, "persuading someone to act in one's favor, typically illegally or dishonestly, by a gift of money or other inducement."

Clearly this is not legally bribery. But giving out free bacardi and t-shirts at a bar is likely to provide less influence, and less resulting material gain, than giving macbooks to the guys who buy props.

You said no, but the concluding sentence relies upon the distinction being the dollar amount of benefit gained. Is the (we'll stipulate) outsized benefit what brings it closer to bribery?

If I wanted to have pedantic and irrelevant arguments with strangers where I'm confrontationally forced to justify all of my opinions, I'll hang out on reddit. If you don't like my opinion, then click the down arrow and move on.

Since you appear to enjoy picking fights with strangers, I highly recommend you switch to that site. It's a much better platform for making sure that everyone who disagrees with you knows how stupid you think they are.

Seriously though, I looked at your comment history, and the whole top page is you just arguing with people and putting down their opinions. Yuck.

I guess so, like giving a doctor free branded pen, or inviting him to free branded "conference" which is basically luxury vacation.

One seems more like marketing, other more like bribery.

I guess it's coincidence then that Beats started appearing all over the place in movies and videoclips right around the time when Apple bought them (I remember searching for them when I became aware of their ubiquity and learning that Apple had just acquired them).

Seriously, it's pretty obvious when the technology spot has been bought by whatever means, otherwise they use no-brand completely generic devices.

I've seen a few iMacs with the Apple logo covered in TV shows as well.

Most likely a case of "so, Apple, you don't want to pay the TV just a little bit of money for product placement? Oh well, out come the stickers." Follow the money.

Yeah I guess what I'm saying is that Apple can give people free shit all day but a director & producer will decide what goes in and what doesn't, not the prop department (as mentioned by others here)

That's the case for hollywood blockbusters. Not for the 80% of movies out there, especially pre-00s European and American cinema.

>If you see a designed object in a movie

Not just movies! Looks like Samsung bought placement in a music video. https://youtu.be/lf_wVfwpfp8?t=4

It's just what happens when most of the policies are made up by 'sponsored' lobbies -- the ones with the deep pockets.

It's completely bonkers really, most of the decisions that people care about are made up in a gray area that doesn't involve them at all; you got an office somewhere making up policies straight out of briefs they've been fed by lobbies (who feeds it to every party too, just in case)

A good recent example is Heathrow's third runway. Despite millions of people living underneath, well, someone somewhere made a 'study' that 'proves' it's a good idea, so despite the fact it impacts millions of people -- in fact, millions of the most influential and rich people in the country even (London and the Thames Valley) well, it's likely to go ahead anyway...

There are also millions of us who would rather fly Heathrow over other local airports and support the expansion. This isn't all astroturfed support you know.

Oh, by local you mean you don't live in Windsor, Datchet or any of the other places directly under the flightpath then, where you can't actually /talk/ outside because there is a plane every 30 seconds? And these aren't even the closest to the airport.

Oh and as for takeoff, it's and even larger area as the planes don't climb before making their turn, they climb /after/ turning over 20+ miles of densely populated area to save fuel.

Oh and there's night flights, so forget it if you want to open a bedroom window in the summer...

Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind going to gatwick, personally.

Any good links on the Heathrow vs. Gatwick campaigning and lobbying effort?

There are quite a few articles about the report ([0] for one of many of them) -- the lobbying efforts themselves are not generally made public anyway, but heathrow hasn't been particularly subtle about it -- It's at least the third or perhaps fourth 'consultation' on the subject. When it get refused, they just try again a bit later.

However there are concerted efforts to buy/silence the people most affected -- there's a proposal to buy houses are significantly over the market price for example for people 'most affected' -- however there is no mention of the millions of others in a circle of 15+ miles that are also affected.... let alone the fact they can't just collectively say 'no' like you'd expect in a democracy, for example.

[0] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ad2918a4-6972-11e4-9f65-00144feabd...

Disclaimer: Beside the fact that I'm affected by this particular topic, I'm not an expert on it. The industry lobbying applies to many other topics tho, like planning permissions etc.

The whole concept of campaigning for an issue like this - of "lobbying" the public - struck me as quite novel for a project of this type (when I was visiting the UK and saw the massive PR campaign). I'm really interested in the emergence of this phenomenon, since at least in Europe it seems fairly new.

Broadly speaking before 1800s this would be a discourse among the elite and aristocracy guiding the houses' opinion. In the 1700s-1900s paradigm the grey power behind such deals would be in the hands of the industrialists. 1950s-2000s paradigm would be to handle this with cabinet-level lobbying or other kinds of nepotism..

In a way it's an obvious improvement - the power of the people and the relevance of public opinion is sort of respected by taking it into account in the first place. But is trying to influence it at such great a cost really respect? It is a noisy world, it is difficult to get people to care about such projects (advocacy for which doesn't gain you social status or warm, fuzzy emotional satisfaction and self-fulfilment unlike many other grass-root efforts could), but both lobbies hiring consultants to compete in shoving their own message down the public's throat on what should be a pretty straight-forward, apolitical, impersonal assessment/bidding process feels perverse...

This may run head on into the ubiquitous surveillance state. After all, you can how prevent anyone from legally photographing you if you wear some classic designer objects.

It'll end up being enforced on publication, I'd guess. So if you photograph an object and publish the picture, someone can come after you for money. Or, in this case, if you published a book last year, they can sue you for distributing it. Which is insane, but that's what you get with retroactive copyright extensions.

Nobody actually cares whether you took the photograph, it's whether you published it.

Well the question is then does it cover all photographs or only those in which the item is the subject. E.g model on a chair is ok chair on its own is not.

Also what makes an item a classical designer item? Do ikea chairs count as designer goods now since they come with an image stock photo of some middle age white guy with a Nordic name?

The mention of 'designer' objects is a distraction. It's about any object for which the design is protected by copyright.

No it's not, it's about "industrially exploited artistic works". Industrially exploited means 'more than 50 copies produced'. Artistic is left to the court to decide on a case-by-case basis.

The design of an Apple laptop or a Fisher Price toy phone is copyrighted, but it's very unlikely to be considered an 'artistic work'.

But when you can request a copy of a cctv video, does that not become publishing? Seems very wooly to me.

Presumably any sort of judicial order or action overrides copyright. You can't get out of a mug shot if you're arrested because you happen to be wearing an Armani shirt.

I would imagine not, any more than showing your family photos to a neighbor would count as publishing them.

perfect for celebrities

Red carpet events could be more easily "curated", since practically very dress is a unique creation.

OK, seems like a storm in a teacup. The items covered by this ruling ('industrially exploited artistic works') are artistic items that have been reproduced more than 50 times. They are already under copyright for 25 years, but due to a judicial review based on EU law, that section has been repealed so they are now covered by the same copyright as 2D artistic works (such as paintings).

Therefore, it's not everything that I own, but only items that a court would consider to be a work of art. Since Apple would have a hard time convincing a court that their laptops are first and foremost works of art, this will have no effect on my ability to run a blog featuring photos of Apple laptops. However, if I wanted to sell a book featuring photos of Busk and Hertzog chairs, I would now need to wait for 70 years instead of 25.

IANAL, but I really don't think this is a big issue.

Unless one of your user submitted photos of an Apple laptop happens to contain their desk chair that you don't notice is a designer chair. The first you may know about this is the copyright troll that purchased the rights to images of that chair sending you a speculative invoice after their chair recognising bot has trawled your blog. You might when you reflect on this hazard decide that your blog on Apple laptops is not worth the risk. This is an example of a chilling effect.

My understanding of the current protections (of 2D works) is that the photograph has to be an image of the protected object. A photo of an Apple laptop with a desk chair in the background isn't a photo of the desk chair. Similarly, a photo of an art gallery isn't a photo of every piece of art contained therein.

Good. However, it will be for the publisher of the photo to argue this with the copyright troll (and possibly eventually in court). In particular I guess that they will probably have to demonstrate that the chair is background and not a significant part of the image. I guess that the publisher will win eventually. I personally don't want to be the test case though.

>but only items that a court would consider to be a work of art.

This doesn't handle the issue of people making claims that things are works of art even if the courts would not agree. Add in the cost to fight it and you end up with a chilling effect.

For example, it would be possible for some laptop design company to say that while the guts of the laptop are not primarily a work of art, the case that holds them is. Maybe they would lose in court, but what is the chance that you would be willing to fight them instead of just taking down the blog?

So if I understand what you're saying, it's that since there is no legal definition of art, I could call anything art if I wanted to prevent people taking photos of it. People would be afraid of the court fees, so they would just roll over. Is that a fair summary of your argument?

I think you're right that this could happen, but this line of thought can lead you to doing nothing about anything due to the way it might be abused in the future. In this specific case, I don't understand what specific problem the law is trying to solve so I can't balance the positive and negative effects of the law against each other. However, it does seem to me a narrowly focused law with a reasonable definition of the subject.

I understand the reasoning of the UK government as follows:

It's important to preserve soul and essence of things. When you photograph someone, you take part of their soul; similarly, when you photograph an object, you take part of its essence. The modern technologies created lot of soul-less people and essence-less things; to restore the world to its former magical beauty, we need more protection against soul- and essence-taking.

Now, I am not an expert in psychology of governments, but the UK empire is actually quite old. We have to consider the possibility that it may be getting senile.

The UK is a leading member of the Church of Capitalism, so "soul" actually means "ability to profit from."

When you photograph a cultural object, profiting from it without the creator's permission is very, very sinful, and an outrageous attack on the concept of Eternal Profitability and Financial Immortality.

To me, the long term trend in copyright legislation is the perfect quite example of how our system is broken.

Yet again I am ashamed of my government.

I think you don't need to be, because it seems arstechnica is misrepresenting the proposed change.

This kind of sensationalist activism is all too common, but my understanding is similar to blowski's above:


not about photographing, but about publishing, particularly in commercial purpose, pictures of actual works of art.

This sounds like it'd run counter to the requirements of sellers to provide clear pictures of the products they're selling, and gives an opportunity for scammers to weasel around them by referring to this ridiculous law. What's next, illegal to describe something you own without license?

I think they're trying to curb websites like voga.com. The UK now is in a weird position in terms of copyright law of designer objects: basically a physical copy of say a designer chair is considered the same as a photo of it and so it can be mass produced without paying royalties to the designer's estate if they've been dead for more than 25 years (as opposed to 70).

Wouldn't it be better to rephrase the law making a distinction between unique (or small batch) works of art and works of design that are going to be mass produced?


DMCA has been used to accomplish this in the US. A man who took a photo of a star wars action figure he had bought got issued take down requests for the photos. Also relevant is that the figurine was apparently accidentally sold ahead of schedule, but still.

The difference is that in the US, if it was a picture he took himself, he was the actual owner of the copyright. The complaint was in the wrong if they simply confused their image with his.

It is unfair, but based on the inequality of legal resources, not because some third party owns a copyright on a picture that you take yourself.

They would argue that the photograph was a work derived from the creative work of the figurine.

I was reminded of that incident as well.

I think it's also worth noting that this was an illegal use of the DMCA. I'm of the mind that there should be liability for claimants knowingly misusing the DMCA to censor others.

A lot of technologists here have certain dreams or aspirations they want to see materialized in their lifetimes. AGI, transhumanism, space colonization, etc.

My dream is that I hope to see the emergence of a viable minarchist or anarchist society (beyond Mennonite and kibbutzim arrangements). Thus far the closest was a brief period of Catalonian history amidst a civil war.

I don't think there is still a single communal kibbutz left in Israel they all pretty much adopted capitalism and privatized their industry.

They originated more out of necessity than out of ideology (not to say that it didn't play a big part in it) as the lack of resources of the early Jewish settlers and the overall lack of development of most of the land pretty much mandated it.

I still have yet to see a viable example of a large scale communist society and I do not think one exists, communism eventually dwindles down to planned economics which pretty much kill everything. Even if you do get to the point where scarcity especially of all basic goods is non-existent at best you'll end up with Star Trek like meritocracy, and considering that scarcity would always exists at some point regardless of technological advancement I'm not even sure how much of that is achievable.

So you can clothe, feed, and keep your entire population healthy with ease using technology that's great, but as you became that advanced you also want to do other things and one thing would always hold true you will have limited resources even if your only bottleneck is time and the production capacity of your replicators which is also why I think Star Trek is pretty much a pipe dream. Eventually you'll have to decide if you want to produce food or built another Enterprise and if it's not your own family who's going to be left hungry you'll more likely than not choose to make another Enterprise than to provide blankets to the folks on the 3rd moon of Endor (and yes i know exactly what i did there ;)).

I'm not advocating anarcho-communism or left-anarchism, necessarily. I'm more than aware of its bottlenecks regarding economic calculation and so forth.

My dream is that I hope to see the emergence of a viable minarchist or anarchist society

Same here, but I'm not very optimistic right this minute.

I know kibbutzim pretty well. For all the successes, failures and learnings the main reason I think this relatively small movement is notable is that people just went and did it.

If you really think you have a model, go and see if you can implement it. If your model requires revolution, wide agreement with everyone or some such, it's probably not relevant as a model.

Communists and anarchists talking about the new utopian society before winning the war. I wonder why they lose...

In Russia, communists won the Civil War precisely because they were talking about the new utopia.

Because, the other side said: "we will win the war and then decide what to build". That's why I even struggle name them, other than "white" (as opposed to communist "red").

The Whites were pretty clear in their goals, I'd thought: preservation of monarchy and status quo.

A more interesting counterfactual would have been Menshevik victory.

Except most of them were actually republican, supporting Provisional Government.

It was a wide coalition of monarchists, republicans, orthdox priests and military. Their only common ground was perhaps dislike and fear of reds (and that turned out very justified).

> Their only common ground was perhaps dislike and fear of reds (and that turned out very justified).

Getting wildly OT now but the atrocities and systematic killings performed by the Nationalists absolutely dwarfed the isolated killings on the Republican side, perhaps by a factor of ten to one.

I'm sorry, who are nationalists that you're talking about? Is it the right civil war? Only thing coming to my mind is ukrainian nationalists, Petlura, that kind of thing.

Ah sorry, I thought you were referring to the Spanish Civil War as discussed by the original poster. I failed to notice the thread had shifted context.

I'm confused. What order would you suggest instead?

First concentrate on stopping the fascist coup d'etat, i.e. winning the Spanish Civil War and preventing 40 years of fascist dictatorship, then discuss about the kind of new society you want.

So knock over the government without any idea of what to replace it with? That doesn't have a great track record either, historically.

(Wait, are we still talking about "communists and anarchists" in general, or is it just the Spanish Civil War now?)

I was talking about the Spanish Civil War. The parent comment said "a brief period of Catalonian history amidst a civil war."

There was a recent HN thread on the world's highest-grossing photographer, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10689889. Would this impact Prince's business model?

Wondering the same. This could be the antidote to that.

Clarify: does this impact fashion, as in clothing, hair and so on? The Fashion industry treats their work as art. Can this be used to block fashion critics from using imagery in the criticism of an outfit, shoe, hair or makeup design?

I have not read the laws but mostly likely this applied to commercial use already for years and they wanted it applied to private use.

However, it's a racket. To give an example, the happy birthday song is illegal to 'broadcast without permission of copyright holders'. But, the restaurant owner can buy a license from a copyright group for a fee.

Second example; Imagine being a school and dealing with students who submit assignments with copyrighted content. It's illegal to accept such submissions without approval. So, all schools usually have to pay for a license from copyright groups (Music, photography, video, etc).

Here's a really good article on it from Australia: http://insidestory.org.au/the-copyright-cops/ (Most, if not all copyright groups in Australia are Hollywood-based).

Here's a copyright group website: http://www.musicrights.com.au/fact-sheets/usingmusicinschool...

> How do I know if I am doing the right thing at school?

> To make using music in schools easier, there are a number of licences in place between copyright owners and schools. These are set out at the end of this Guide. A reference to (Licence # ) is a reference to the licence applicable in each instance.

I see your references are Australian, so the rules there may be different but I'd like to clarify the rules in force in the UK around your second example. According to the Copyright Act 1988 there is the idea of fair use / fair dealing, which extends to the type of academic activity you highlight. This means it is not an infringement of copyright and no notification or license is required.


And even then UK fair dealing is much more restrictive than US fair use.

In a sudden outbreak of common sense, Warner lost their claim to owning the copyright of the Happy Birthday song a few months ago.


The Act that that includes these changes also includes provisions to allow compulsory licensing of "orphaned" copyright works: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/24/section/77/enact...

I'm trying to understand what problem this law is trying to solve. Without this law, would it be legal for me to buy a Damien Hirst painting, photograph it and sell the photographs? Or is it that I could run an unofficial information website (say, on Apple laptops) on which I list detailed photos, and the brand owners want to limit that?

In the case of paintings it is already illegal, this law just extends that to all other objects (well it only mentions designer chairs, but obviously it must apply to kids toys and anything else, they will claim they are artistic).

The government has just recently confirmed that digital reproductions to not create new copyright, so you already need to pay Damien to sell pictures of your Hirst.

So if I posted a picture on Facebook of my son playing with a Fisher Price telephone, then Fisher Price could contact me and order me to take it down? I'm assuming they couldn't sue for 'loss of earnings'? And if I run an unofficial Apple blog on which I do teardowns of Apple equipment then they could order me to remove any photos?

Yes, that's the spirit.


How do you determine whether an object you own requires a license to photograph? It sounds to me like you'd want every object you buy to come with an automatic license to make photos of it.

And of course you need to store all those licenses somewhere. What an awful overhead.

I would love to see a statistical analysis on how many times an average citizen, assuming zero maliciousness, breaks laws like this unknowingly in his/her lifetime. It wouldn't surprise me at all that literally everyone breaks one at one point.

England has civil and criminal law. I'm not sure what the US equivalents are.

When you break civil law the wronged party can take you to court and try to get damages. There's no chance of prison or conviction or criminal record. When you break criminal law the police get involved, you're arrested and charged with an offence, you're prosecuted, and if convicted you're sentenced.

For copyright stuff it's almost entirely civil. It tips into criminal law if you do it as part of trading. So, if I download a movie it's civil. If I upload a movie it's still civil. If I download a movie, and burn it to DVDs and sell those at a market it's now criminal.

UK copyright law is bafflingly bad. If someone wants a strong example of over-powerful lobbying in law creation the copyright laws are a great example.

US law, with the exception of that of the state of Louisiana, is based on English common law. We have civil and criminal law very similar to the UK.

Except for the wigs.

I mean.....it already sort of happens in the US. Every single TV show censors out any brand names, car logos, restaurant names out of fear of I don't know what. Being sued I guess? It's ridiculous.

Usually it's to avoid accidentally promoting a product that competes with a sponsor or advertiser.

But how is that only a problem in the US? I've never seen UK, German, French, Spanish or Polish TV shows censoring out brand names. Surely they could have made the same argument, yet they don't?

They don't censor it, but they don't want to promote it either. On broadcasts we do we try really hard not to do 'sleeper ads' where we drink from let's say a coke bottle on air.

Do I also need a license to sit in a designer chair?

No. Sitting is not an act restricted by copyright in the UK.

  16 The acts restricted by copyright [are]:
  (a)to copy the work;
  (b)to issue copies of the work to the public;
  (ba)to rent or lend the work to the public;
  (c)to perform, show or play the work in public;
  (d)to communicate the work to the public;
  (e)to make an adaptation of the work or do any of the above in relation to an adaptation
Source: CDPA1988 s.16(1).

Photoing a designer chair comes under copying: "copying includes ... the making of a copy in two dimensions of a three-dimensional work" (s.17(3))


What if I sit on the chair in a public place? Surely that constitutes a performance of the chair; after all to sit on a chair is to perform its essential function.

No. The performance right is for "literary, dramatic or musical work[s]".

(Remember: legislation is drafted by lawyers whose entire job is to make a document that is as painfully, excruciatingly unambiguous as English allows. Each of those rights in the short list I posted has long sections clarifying very precisely what it means. Where ambiguities or absurdities remain, there's probably been a lawsuit over them in the past 25 odd years, and a judge will have spent dozens of pages analysing each one.

In other words - criticising an act by trying to spot semantic absurdities based on a tiny extract of its summary is probably not a sensible game to play..)

So ... can I sit on the chair, in public?

A prime example of how law creates the criminals in the first place. We could live in perfect peace without this brain fart.

So if a celebrity wears a designer hat or jewelry and they own the copyright to it, they can sue the gossip magazines for publishing unauthorized photos taken in a public place (which would normally be fair game)? Could be fun to watch how that plays out in court!

In fact, any celebrity could design their own piece of jewellery, a badge even, then sue anyone who publishes it.

The mags would have to photoshop all their photos, I guess. Already do. But then I guess they might be sued for misrepresenting a person by photoshopping them without their permission? Check-mate?

If there is a copyright on a chair, you cannot manufacture the chair without permission. Where is photographing it mentioned?

I do not think this can pass. I think it would be incompatible with EU law, which has higher priority than local country law.

Which bit of EU law? I figure if I can understand this in more detail, then I could write to my MP.

EDIT: Seems this is actually to align EU and UK law:

> The repeal of s. 52 was brought in by statute - by section 74 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. The rationale for the repeal was that UK law was incompatible with the EU following the Court of Justice of the European Union's decision in Flos v Semeraro (Case C-168/09). The purpose of the repeal was to align the period of copyright protection across all artistic works and to eradicate inconsistencies between the term of protection afforded by copyright in different Member States.


>Which bit of EU law? I figure if I can understand this in more detail, then I could write to my MP.

I thought this ("writing to my congressman/MP") was an American thing.

In real life, does anybody actually expect them to pay attention, and not directly toss all these mails in the dustbin (or e-dustbin)?

Depends on your MP. I have a pretty good local MP (David Amess, Southend West) and he does represent constituent views in Parliament. Of course, whether the government will in turn listen to him is questionable, but it's still a good course of action.

In my experience they do pay attention. Mine responded and even helped.

How is this different from not being allowed to photograph the Eiffel tower at night, or having to abide by the terms of games, music or films you have purchased?

The reason being that it's a European directive (formulated 15 years ago) and member states are free to implement it. France, Belgium and Italy choose not to implement it.

That is why you see not that much pictures of the Atomium in Brussels online or on postcards. But I was under the impression that Belgium will implement it in the future as the situation is clearly ridiculous.

Country law trumps EU law.

County Implementations can vary from to the letter of the law and its intent or a trivial implementation which has been neutered by local lobbying.

Look at how TUPE is implemented across the EU and you will see how this works compare the Uk and Spain

No more photos of celebrities in designer clothing then. It would get too expensive for the rags to do it.

Pinterest is fucked. Many people have Pinterest boards of designed objects.

Is this some contrived plot to repel people from taking UK citizenship?

No we invented drizzle for that.

This is the first step in a cunning plan to remove vacuous images from the net. Next step is working out a plausible reason for banning small,furry,mammal images.

Yes, that and Corbyn.

Not a surprising act after the rest of the population pays "TV license" for decades to watch BBC lying.

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