In 2012, I launched the ELLE Decoration Equal Rights for Design campaign to highlight the disparity between UK copyright protection for designed items versus the creation of art, music or literature. It was a loophole that made Britain the designer knock-off capital of Europe, with many a dubious dealer legally based here. Backed by the likes of Sir Terence Conran and Sir James Dyson, I took the campaign to the government and despite vociferous counter-campaigning from the fake merchants, with support from organisations like ACID, I succeeded and the law was changed to bring copyright protection in line with other disciplines (protection for 70 years after the death of the designer) and EU law. Victory tasted a little sour though as it wasn’t due to be enforced until 2020 enabling an extremely lengthy transition period for retailers to phase out their dodgy stock. However, after continued pressure from manufacturers, the government eventually capitulated and the fakers were given until the end of January 2017 to get shot of their shoddy goods.
Follow my 13 steps from the beginning of the campaign to eventual success here…
1 October 2011 The blog post which started the campaign: Designer Deceit
2 October 2011 SamCam Arcogate continues
3 October 2011 SamCam Arcogate R0und Two
5 March 2012 Buy the real thing or Nothing. The Times: A response
6 April 2012 Intellectual Property Reform worth 7.9 billion
Interview by Dezeen during the Milan 2012 Furniture Fair on the campaign…
7 May 2012 Copyright: The Beginning, your Country needs you! Editor’s Letter
8 May 2012 Anything but a phony
9 July 2012 We did it! Equal Rights for Design: Achieved!
10 July 2012 Letters to The Times
11 August 2012 Tracking the Copyright bill
12 October 2012 Editor’s Letter
13 August 2016 We fought the fakes, and won!