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-- JonathanMo - 14 Sep 2015

A certain degree of overlap exists between the CA and the Designs Act 2003 (Cth) (DA). Hence it is possible for an artistic work in particular to qualify for a form of protection as a work of copyright under the CA or as a design under the DA.

Copyright protection generally aims to give certain exclusive rights to the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Design protection aims to provide legal protection for designs incorporated into commercial or industrial products, such as furniture, textiles, clothes or household appliances. With these two different types of protection, the law makes a distinction between creative and commercial work. Creative works generally would qualify for copyright protection, while products with an industrial application would qualify for designs protection. In practice, however, it is often difficult to distinguish between creative and industrially applicable products. The end result of the attempt to maintain the distinction has been complex provisions governing the overlap of the two laws. Under these provisions some works qualify for copyright protection only, some for designs protection only, some for both and some for no protection at all. The intention of the legislature is to limit copyright protection for utilitarian three-dimensional products, whether or not they are registrable as designs. However, copyright protection lasts longer than designs protection. Designs, which must be registered to gain protection, can be protected for ten years only. (See Designs, this chapter).

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