Council buys copyright in street signs

The IPKat was intrigued to read in Design Week that Westminster has bought the copyright in the Westminster street signs designed in the 1960s by Sir Misha Black, from his estate. The article claims that the signs will now ‘be protected against counterfeiters and copyright cheats for the first time in their 40-year history’

According to Councillor Danny Chalkley, cabinet member for transport and economic development, the Council

‘bought the copyright as we felt we needed to retain an element of control over the signs to maintain Westminster’s image as a world class tourist information.’

Humphrey (right) the official Westminster spokescat was unavailable for comment

The IPKat isn’t sure about this one. Surely much of the value comes from the names themselves (which won’t be protected), rather than the format in which they’re presented. Moreover, the Kat can’t really see how it’s helpful to the tourist industry to crack down on souvenir sellers, which presumably is the eventual aim. The Kat guesses that the Council thinks it’s on to a nice little earner of ‘official’ Westminster merchandise.
Council buys copyright in street signs Council buys copyright in street signs Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, July 30, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. Given that Westminster Council paid £50,000 for the copyright I suspect they'll be wanting to charge a fair bit more for the licences than a nominal amount which would just give them control over how the work is used.

  2. What chance the design isn't covered by section 52(2) of the Act? In other words, isn't this an artistic design applied by an industrial process? In that case, expiry of copyright occurred 15 years from first offer for sale, i.e. some time ago. That's £50K of taxpayer's lolly well spent, isn't it?

  3. I agree with the cat's suggestion, that the Council thinks it’s on to a nice little earner of ‘official’ Westminster merchandise !!


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