Ireland under pressure by Danish Government to tighten copyright laws

Replica furniture resembling design classics can still be bought lawfully in Ireland but the Danish Government is actively pressing for new, tighter legislation. This is disclosed by replica furniture maker VOGA after the company was granted right of access to the documents. Could this be the end of the popular replicas from Ireland?

Since 1993 it has been legal in Ireland to purchase replicas of classic design furniture, but now it seems the Danish Government – on behalf of the original Danish copyright holders – has successfully pressed for new, tighter legislation to be made in Ireland. 

The tightening of the law will prevent the sale of the popular replicas from Ireland as it involves an increase in the copyright ownership from 25 years to 70 years after the death of the designer. As a result, good design will no longer be available to ordinary consumers who are unable to pay the high price for an original piece of furniture. 

In Denmark, the licensees manufacturing the pricey originals are likely very satisfied with the probability of the tighter Irish copyright law as this allows them to maintain their monopoly and soaring prices.

Among other reasons, the Danish Government explains its rather operative approach with the potential massive loss of the licensees due to replica production. At VOGA, this explanation does not make much sense.

'Previous research has shown that replicas and the original pieces of furniture do not appeal to the same customers as the price difference simply is too big. Moreover, one of the largest manufacturers of the original furniture in Denmark has just presented the best financial result in the history of the company, which just goes to show that our replicas are not damaging their business,' says CEO of VOGA Sean Murphy.

The CEO expresses concern at how willingly the Danish Government is paving the way for the licensees – especially considering that tighter legislation will not benefit the consumers.

'I am obviously not suggesting there should be no copyright protection, but to protect furniture for 70 years after the death of the designer is simply unnecessary and it puts the consumer at a disadvantage. Consider how pharmaceuticals are typically only protected for 10 years before you can buy inexpensive replica medicine. Why should furniture be better protected?' Murphy asks in conclusion.

For further information about the right of access and VOGA's position in the case, please contact:

CEO of Voga Sean Murphy
Email: sean.murphy@voga.ie
Phone: +353 (1) 761 4712