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Copyright

Copyright guards the expression of an idea rather than the concept itself. It materialises instantaneously when a work that is eligible for shielding is crafted, for example with an idea committed to paper in the form of a book or painting, or with another fixed form, such as a data carrier disc or other recording.

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One who establishes the first work is typically the proprietor of the copyright though exceptions are applicable, such as in cases of commissioned works and those generated in the capacity of employment. The copyright owner has sole power to reproduce, distribute, rent/lend, perform/exhibit, broadcast and alter the work.

The author or creator of the work also has the right to be identified in regard to the work unless opting to waive this right. An infringement of copyright takes place once a critical component of the work is taken and is mainly determined by the amount taken as well as its value within the work.

The main categories of work protected by copyright in the UK include:

  • literary works (novels, poems, song lyrics, presentations, work manuals, computer programs). dramatic works (plays, dance, mime).
  • musical works (song compositions and compilations). artistic works (paintings, photographs, sculptures, engravings).
  • Films, broadcasts and sound recordings.
  • Typographical arrangements of published editions (i.e. the layout of a particular publication).

Generally, the person creating the original work is the owner of the copyright but exceptions do exist, such as for commissioned works and those created in the course of employment.

The length of time that copyright safeguards a work is contingent on work type. Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works survive for 70 years from the termination of the calendar year in which the author (or last existing author if multiple authors) dies. Nonetheless, a shortened period may obtain where works have been mass produced. As for typographical arrangements, they possess a lesser span, being 25 years from the close of the calendar year in which the work was initially released with that particular layout/appearance. Furthermore, other rights may exist in a work such as database right or unregistered design right.

If you have any doubts concerning the existence or possible violation of copyright, kindly reach out to us.

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