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"Artistic Craftsmanship" and its impact on the Replica Industry


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#1 Nev

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Posted 23 December 2021 - 12:06

In 2016 in the UK there was a repeal of section 52 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. In short, this meant that if an object could be described as "a work of artistic craftsmanship", then copyright could be extended from the previous 25 years to 70 years.
 
The 1988 Act was of course originally intended to cover genuine works of art, furniture, sculpture, photographs, paintings etc. If an artist was constrained in his artistic endeavour by considerations of functionality, then it was not intended that the objects should be considered to be "works of artistic craftsmanship". The artist needs to be given free reign to his creativity.
 
A race-car, of course, is almost entirely constrained by function and should not be considered a "work of artistic craftsmanship". However, a certain large car company rather cynically sought to gain a legal precedent in a "soft" jurisdiction (Sweden) against a "soft" target (a retired enthusiast). They surprisingly were successful in describing a race-car as a "work of artistic craftsmanship" - although the matter will be appealed in 2022 where hopefully common-sense will prevail and the ruling will be overturned.
 
Today's UK Intellectual Property Office review reported that "there were statements that these enforcement actions were having a devastating effect on the industry, particularly on small replica manufacturers, and putting thousands of UK jobs at risk." The review also confirmed that "the UK historic car sector has an aggregate turnover of £18.3 billion, supporting 113,000 employees. A separate analysis by CEBR for HERO-ERA in 2020 calculated that 11.3% of all jobs generated by the motor industry are in the historic and classic vehicle sector."
 
As admitted by the IPO today, "The effect on the replica car industry was not predicted by the original impact assessment". The IPO went on to say, "The IPO will consider whether guidance on works of artistic craftsmanship could help both users and rights holders in the future".
 
It is hoped that common sense will prevail here also and guidance will be issued that excludes objects such as cars from being described as "works of artistic craftsmanship".
 
Today's review by the IPO can be read here:
 
Post-implementation Review of the 2016 Repeal of section 52 Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988 and associated amendments
 


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#2 Bloggsworth

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Posted 23 December 2021 - 16:18

I have to disagree as someone who had his designs copied on a regular basis by large corporations who, when queried, replied - "We have 20 corporate lawyers, how long can you afford to keep us in court?" In the 60s up till the early 80s my designs were hand drawn and therefore the result of my, admittedly, limited skill, but nevertheless were Copyright. I should think that 100% of replicas were designed by the same process, so the appearance, which in replicas is their main selling point, was ripped off from an artist's earlier effort. The radiaor of a Bugatti was a creative wonder, distinguishing it from all other cars of the period, it was never a result of functional testing; the functionality of the Lotus Elan was not derived from its body shape. If one designs something "On paper," the copyright belongs to he/she who did the illustration and/or to the entity who caused the design to be created. In America patents could not be regstered by companies only by an "inventor," said inventor has to then sell the patent to his commissioner/employer - Which reminds me, Hoechst Chemicals still owe me $1...


Edited by Bloggsworth, 23 December 2021 - 16:24.


#3 JacnGille

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Posted 23 December 2021 - 19:15

 Which reminds me, Hoechst Chemicals still owe me $1...

:cool:



#4 Nev

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Posted 25 December 2021 - 10:58

I have to disagree as someone who had his designs copied on a regular basis by large corporations who, when queried, replied - "We have 20 corporate lawyers, how long can you afford to keep us in court?" In the 60s up till the early 80s my designs were hand drawn and therefore the result of my, admittedly, limited skill, but nevertheless were Copyright. I should think that 100% of replicas were designed by the same process, so the appearance, which in replicas is their main selling point, was ripped off from an artist's earlier effort. The radiaor of a Bugatti was a creative wonder, distinguishing it from all other cars of the period, it was never a result of functional testing; the functionality of the Lotus Elan was not derived from its body shape. If one designs something "On paper," the copyright belongs to he/she who did the illustration and/or to the entity who caused the design to be created. In America patents could not be regstered by companies only by an "inventor," said inventor has to then sell the patent to his commissioner/employer - Which reminds me, Hoechst Chemicals still owe me $1...

 

 

I do feel your pain Bloggsworth - and you do make a valid point. Copyright should exist for certain items and certainly long enough for the originator to exploit the item - whatever it is. However, I am not aware of any instances where copyright lasts indefinitely for all eternity? Is this what you suggest?

 

For the car in question, copyright expired many years ago and the company in question certainly fully exploited the design in period. Again, for the car in question, its design was predominantly influenced by functional (aerodynamic) requirements by the extremely talented Malcolm Sayer. Malcolm's brief was to produce a streamlined race version of Jaguar's XK120 road car - the functional constraints to his design being very evident.

 

The cynical actions of this company (with a sole motivation of protecting the exorbitant prices of a limited number of so-called "continuations") not only causes reputational damage to a one great heritage/brand but also threatens an entire Industry - an Industry previously supported by them. Indeed, without an Industry long supported by them, they would have been unable to produce any of their continuations/replicas. To add insult to injury, many of their past and current managers own and race replicas of their own!

 

This unjust ruling threatens the entire Replica Industry - for all marques - not just Jaguar. Hopefully common sense will prevail both here in the UK and in the EU.



#5 Bloggsworth

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Posted 25 December 2021 - 21:20

It depends. Copyright exists for the life of he/she who originated the creation, then for a period of time to the heirs and assigns of that creator - the period depends on what kind of artistic creation it is. Authorship and music is about 70 years. Patents tend to be fixed term, in my case, 25 years if you the subs continue to be paid. Drug patents run, I believe, 20 years before the creation of generics is allowed, though of course, drug companes have been known to add an "inert" substance and re-patent it as a new drug. The thing about design copyright is that if it looks the same, it is the same; whereas mechanical patents, broadly speaking, have to have both look the same and function in exactly the same way - At least, that was my understanding back in the day, but then again, my stuff was pretty low level...



#6 john aston

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Posted 26 December 2021 - 08:08

I see some difficulty in reconciling criticism of Jaguar's actions with seeking the protection of one's own work under the same laws re IP.

 

My take is that Jaguar has been  extremely heavy handed in using a legal sledgehammer to crack a very small nut  . The fact that the models in question have had their reputation curated and enhanced by enthusiasts for decades, while Jaguar tried and failed , again and again , to recapture the magic of its Fifties and Sixties products speaks volumes . And now , after inflicting  its market with models that are either indistinguishable, mediocre or cynically derivative  it has decided , faute de mieux , to plunder its own back catalogue so the usual 'high  net worth ' suspects  can impress their mates with  factory replicas  . 

 

So far as copyright in images or text is  concerned , the law is a paper tiger unless you have very deep pockets - and even then, why spend a lot of money to protect something which is only valuable (if at all) to a tiny market ? If your stuff goes on the web then  game over - it becomes effectively free content  . One can splutter all one likes (I know I have about some of my own articles appearing without my knowledge or consent )but in an age when nobody expects to pay much (or anything at all)  to read a book , watch a video or to listen to music where's the big surprise?  


Edited by john aston, 27 December 2021 - 07:11.


#7 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:01

I see that Ecurie Ecosse are launching their LM-C  at Bicester tomorrow.  it looks like a very good C type replica.  Obviously there are string historical connections with the original EE team and running C types but how is this car different to the other replicas that Jaguar want to stop?



#8 Bloggsworth

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 18:13

I see that Ecurie Ecosse are launching their LM-C  at Bicester tomorrow.  it looks like a very good C type replica.  Obviously there are string historical connections with the original EE team and running C types but how is this car different to the other replicas that Jaguar want to stop?

Perhaps they have permission...



#9 GLaird

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 11:21

Perhaps they pay a 'Licensing Fee...'