The Government has amended UK copyright infringement laws in order to increase the protection of art in the UK to match standards seen elsewhere in Europe.

The amendments will help to better protect ‘industrially exploited’ artistic works within the UK, including paintings, sketches, photographs and graphic designs.

One key change confirmed by the Government is an extension of the period of protection available for exploited artistic works – those which an intellectual property owner has sold more than 50 copies of – up from 25 years to 70 years and more.

In accordance with longer protection, the Government is also seeking to crack down on manufacturers of replica goods and designers of previously legal, yet similar, reproduced artworks – which could now be considered as copyright infringement under the new reforms.

The new legislation, which contains amendments to Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) – a sub-section of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, will be implemented from 28 July 2016.

Businesses, artists, graphic designers and replica good manufacturers are strongly urged to seek specialist advice to avoid running the risk of breaching copyright infringement laws and facing potential legal action. It is important to ensure that any artwork, images, designs or graphics have appropriate licences and permissions for use, especially where some works are to benefit from extension of their copyrights.