Under Irish law, copyright protection for artistic works lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. There are two exceptions to this: (i) copyright protection in a design registered under the Industrial Designs Act 2001 lasts only for 25 years from the filing date of the design and (ii) artistic works “exploited by an industrial process” receive copyright protection for 25 years from when they are first marketed (in this article, both of these works are collectively referred to as “industrially produced artistic works”).
Prompted by a decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Ireland is now set to follow the UK by amending the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (the “Copyright Act”) to extend the term of copyright protection for industrially produced artistic works from 25 years to 70 years from the death of the designer. This increase in the term of copyright protection for such works means that where they are over 25 years old, copyright will effectively be restored. This proposed change in the law is likely to impact Irish designers, retailers, manufacturers and consumers.