Council secures copyright to iconic signs in order to retain control over area’s image

Westminster council has secured the copyright to central London’s iconic street signs in order to stop counterfeiters cashing in unscrupulously.

The red and black street signs were created in the sixties by the Russian-born design guru Sir Misha Black, who died in 1977.

Downing St
Credit: elyob

All products featuring the street signs or reproductions must now be licensed. Traders have until the end of the month to apply for a licence, or face heavy fines.

Martin Low of Westminster council told the BBC: “Westminster’s street signs are an integral part of London life and very popular with the millions of visitors that the city hosts every year. In buying the copyright, we felt we needed to retain an element of control over the signs to maintain Westminster’s image as a world-class tourist destination.”

The ownership over copyright also means that the signs can be used in official council publications to advertise the area’s tourist attractions.