The best free intellectual property right.
The law of copyright, provides automatic, free, long-term protection against copying to artists, authors and musicians. The legislation is voluminous and complex and although there are international conventions, the duration and extent of protection varies from one country to another. Useful basic, unbiased information on copyright is available from the UK intellectual property office.
How we can help you with Copyright
Most of our copyright work comes from clients who have encountered problems. Either someone is copying their work or they are being accused of copying someone else’s. Copyright problems also arise when licence terms are breached or appropriate royalty rates cannot be agreed.
You don’t need to register your copyright. It is possible to register copyright works in the USA, which is where most references to registration come from. Find out more on the US copyright office website.
This is the area where you are most likely to need my help. If you receive a threatening letter, it is always best to take legal advice. Similarly, if you want to send a threatening letter, it’s best to check whether you have a good case. The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, particularly the small claims track, is a very valuable resource for ensuring access to justice for modest claims of unauthorised use.
The familiar © plus date plus name of copyright owner notice on copies of your work is a useful notification to the world that you are the owner of the copyright in this work and the date of its first publication. In the United Kingdom, the presence of a copyright notice is not essential to make a claim for infringement. However, it may become relevant for certain infringing acts where the alleged infringer can rely on a defence that they were ignorant that copyright existed.
Copyright in most original works lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. Because copyright comes into existence automatically, there are no official fees required for its creation. Beware of scam invoices.
What can and can’t be Copyrighted?
Your spoken words don’t attract copyright until they are recorded in some material form. Your tweets may be too trivial and banal, but mine are definitely original. There is no copyright in the plot of a book or an idea for a game show format, play or film.
Most original creative work causes a copyright to come into existence. It can be an infringement to copy a small part of the work if it is considered substantial. This fact creates something of a fetter on an artist’s creativity as he must be certain that he is not being over inspired by another’s work. If you are accused of copyright infringement and do not believe you have copied, but have had provable access to the original work and there are substantial similarities between the original and your work, it can be extremely difficult to persuade a judge that no copying was involved.