Confusion over copyright laws

Experts are still unclear on how updates to the Berne Convention on international copyright laws will affect designers. The changes, agreed this month in Geneva, will not take effect until at least 30 countries have ratified them.

Representatives from more than 150 nations gathered to formulate the changes, which aim to bring the convention up to speed on issues such as the Net. But “political manoeuvring” means that the end result leaves major loopholes, says Geoffrey Adams, advisor on copyright issues to the Chartered Society of Designers.

Nations could not agree on basic issues, such as what, in digital terms, actually constitutes copying. “To modify the Berne Convention requires unanimity. On controversial issues you’re not going to get it,” says Adams.

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