On 1 January every year numerous copyright works enter the public domain in the UK when the copyright attaching to them expires (at the end of the previous calendar year). This year sees a glut of hugely popular and high profile works become freely available, including the creations of Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Edvard Munch. Public Domain Review has published a list of its favourites here which makes exciting reading.
Now is the time to act for those looking to exploit, without a licence (and royalty), works previously protected – before the market is flooded with lawfully unlicensed merchandise.
But, act carefully: despite substantial harmonization of copyright law at European level there remain nuances in how the duration of copyright is calculated. Incorrectly calculating the copyright period for a work, and proceeding on the assumption that the work has entered the public domain, is likely to be a very costly mistake. For advice, please contact Laura Mazzola.