ELLE Decoration UK has launched its Equal Rights for Design campaign to protect creativity, support originality, stop the exploitation of designers, and ultimately protect the reputation of Britain.
Supported by Sir Terence Conran and Sir James Dyson, the campaign questions and exposes UK copyright laws with respect to design.
The campaign states: "In Britain, it’s legal to copy any item of design just 25 years after its date of issue, whereas works of literature, drama, music, film and art are protected for 70 years after the death of the originating author/s. In addition, those 25 years of protection cover only ‘registered’ designs – unregistered design rights extend to just three years. ELLE Decoration UK questions why design is deemed less worthy of protection, and asks, are designers felt to invest less ‘labour, skill or judgment’ in their work: the criteria governing copyright eligibility?
"With the Equal Rights for Design e-petition ELLE DecorationUK seeks to change the law in order to afford design parity of protection with other creative disciplines, and give all designers, and designs, greater protection. The e-petition requires just 100,000 signatures to automatically earn the right to be debated in the House of Commons. ELLE Decoration UK calls for anyone who cares about the protection of originality and the nurture of British creativity to add their signature and support the Equal Rights for Design campaign."
ELLE Decoration UK Editor in Chief Michelle Ogundehin said, “The UK was once a major player in industry and manufacturing with a global reputation for quality and excellence. And it could be so again. But Britain’s designers are still one of the country’s greatest exports. The ELLE Decoration UK Equal Rights for Design campaign hopes to force the government to acknowledge that parity of copyright protection is urgently required to both support our home-grown design talent, and enable the design sector to prosper.”
The design sector contributes an estimated £33 billion (2.4%) to UK GDP and the creative industries as a whole are a major part of the UK’s economy, contributing £112 billion to UK gross domestic product (GDP), 5.14% of the UK’s employment total and 10.6% of exports.
Conran said, “Design has an important contribution to make to the growth of the UK economy at a time when it is sorely needed. If the UK Government were to change the copyright laws that are intended to protect designers in this country, it would go a long way to ensuring our brilliant young designers can make a decent living out of their creativity.”
Sir James Dyson says, “The aping of ingenious design and engineering impedes new ideas, sticks a finger up at investment in costly research and development, and circumvents any original thinking. There’s nothing clever about it.”
Intellectual Property reform could be worth as much as £7.9 billion, according to the Hargreaves Report, an independent review of the issues surrounding Intellectual Property (IP) in the UK. Professor Hargreaves states, “It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that there is something deeply and persistently amiss in the way that policy towards IP issues in the UK is determined and/or administered.”