Copyright is a type of intellectual property. It enables the owner to protect their work from being copied or reproduced by another person. Copyright is dealt with by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Copyright is a right that automatically arises so long as the work created meets the requirements. The work must be original, which means the author must have used their own judgment and/or skill when creating it. Some examples of works protected by copyright are, as follows:

  • Novels and poems
  • Paintings
  • Films
  • Sound recordings
  • Broadcasts

It is generally accepted that the person who created the work is the owner of the copyright. However, this is not always the case. For example, if an employee created something for their employer, the copyright would be owned by the employer.

It is illegal for someone to copy or reproduce a work that is protected by copyright. Such an act is commonly referred to as “copyright infringement”. The copyright owner will be entitled to take the copyright infringer to court and seek any, or all, of the following remedies:

  • An injunction to prevent further copyright infringement
  • Compensation
  • An account of the copyright infringer’s profits
  • An order requiring the copyright infringer to deliver all copies or the right for the copyright owner to seize them

A copyright owner should seek legal advice from an experienced intellectual property lawyer before deciding to take a copyright infringer to court because there are some exceptions to copyright.

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