Australia’s flawed intellectual property laws
So why does Australia provide Copyright laws and Intellectual property rights to artists and creative industries such as fine art, graphic design & photography yet leave product designers open to be copied?
Under the current IP laws unlike works referred to as fine art, design of objects and furniture is not entitled to copyright protection and are left vulnerable to copying. I have been one of many designers targeted by large companies ready to make money from unprotected designers here in Australia.
Australia’s retail landscape may play a major part in the decision to keep designers unprotected. Much of our retail in Australia is made up of replica’s. Stores like Kmart, Target, Freedom, Bunnings and Matt Blatt.
All these retailers hold an arsenal of replica rip-offs on their showroom floor so making it illegal will put these businesses in trouble. In fact, one of the biggest culprits is Westfarmers the conglomerate owning many of the offending companies employing 223,000 workers with a revenue of $68.44 Billion (2017) it’s no wonder the cries of the small Australian designers aren’t being heard. With figures like this creating change which will affect many of these company’s bottom dollar just adds to the friction in the uphill battle the Australia design industry faces.