Introduction To Copyright

Copyright protection subsists automatically when you create a new work. It can subsist in:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, including illustrations and photography;
  • Original non-literary written work, such as databases, software, web content;
  • Sound and music recordings;
  • Film and television recordings;
  • Broadcasts
  • Adaptations of published editions of written, dramatic or musical works.

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Copyright Protection

In some countries, there is a facility for an author to register their copyright work but this is not available in the UK. As such, it is important to keep accurate records and have evidence of the date of creation of the copyright work as this marks the start of the copyright protection.

Copyright FAQs

We’ve compiled a list of our most popular Copyright FAQs. We hope you find these useful. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.
What is copyright?

Copyright protects original works of art, music, literature, films, broadcast and cable programmes, sound recordings and/or typographical arrangements of published editions. Protection subsists automatically once an original work has been produced in some permanent form.

Copyright protection prevents third parties from reproducing the work in a substantially similar form, using copies of the work to the public, perform, show or play the work in public or make an adaptation of the work without permission from the owner of the original copyright work.

What is the length of term of copyright protection?

The term of copyright protection varies depending on the type of work in question. As an example, copyright protection subsists in original literature works for 70 years from the end of the year in which the author dies, or if the author is unknown, 70 years from the end of the year in which the work is first made available to the public.

Copyright protection subsists in computer generated works for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work is first made.

Will my copyright work be protected in other countries?

The United Kingdom is a member of the Berne Copyright Convention to which a large number of overseas countries are also members. The Berne Copyright Convention allows owners of copyright works to have protection for their copyright in other member countries. However, some member countries, and non-member countries, require copyright works to be registered at the National Intellectual Property Office before the copyright subsisting in the work can be enforced against a third party in that country.

How do I show that I have copyright protection?

To demonstrate that copyright protection subsists in your work, you need to keep dated drawings and/or copies of the work and any modifications made to the work, in such a form that they can be used to provide evidence of copyright at some point in the future.

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