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Copyright

BUSINESS OBJECTIVES ACHIEVED

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Copyright is an intellectual property right that can protect a wide range of works, including but not limited to literary works, dramatic works, artistic works, musical works, sound recordings, films or broadcasts, or the typographical arrangement of published works. Generally, if something can be recorded or 'fixed' and is original, it is capable of being protected under copyright laws.

Copyright is not a registered right, rather it arises automatically by operation of law as soon as a work capable of protection is fixed in a material form. As such, there is no application process or fee to register copyright, and there is no record of copyright works in the UK. Nevertheless, there are steps that can be taken to help protect copyright works. For example, in order to assert copyright in specific works, the copyright symbol, ©, is often used, however this is not necessary and its absence next to a piece of work does not necessarily mean that such work is free for third parties to use.

Copyright can be a valuable asset for businesses who, upon owning copyright, can protect their original work and prevent others from using, playing, copying, distributing and publishing such work without obtaining permission. The existence of copyright may be enough on its own to stop others from trying to exploit such works, but if it does not, copyright gives owners the right to take legal action to stop third parties exploiting copyright, and to claim damages.

Furthermore, copyright owners can use the works in question to their commercial advantage by assigning (selling) them or licencing them for use by others. In such circumstances, it is possible for the original author's moral rights in the works to be recognised and maintained.

It is also worth noting that a copyright protected work can have another form of intellectual property right connected to it. For example, whilst copyright can protect the artwork of a logo, such logo could be registered as a trade mark, whereas the goodwill and reputation that attaches to a businesses use of that logo may give rise to rights under the tort of passing off.

Our intellectual property solicitors regularly provide legal support to clients, from individuals to SME's, and from start-ups to long-established, large corporate entities in a wide range of circumstances in relation to copyright, including:

Advising on selling, licencing or franchising copyright to make the most out of existing copyright and negotiating the contracts governing such sale or use;

  • Enforcing rights under existing copyright if such has been infringed by a third party, minimising the commercial impact such may have; and
  • Although copyright cannot be registered in the UK, Forbes Solicitors are a member of an international association of specialist business law firms, so we are able to put clients in direct contact with internationally based firms if they wish to register copyright in jurisdictions where this is possible, such as in the USA.
  • The majority of businesses will have some dealings with copyright, whether using copyright owned by third parties, or establishing and making use of their own unique works. Intellectual property law, specifically copyright law, can be challenging, and knowing how to stay compliant, avoid becoming the subject of infringement proceedings, and successfully protecting and exploitation your own work is pivotal to developing a reputable brand, and a healthy intellectual property portfolio.

If you require any assistance with any aspect of copyright law, please don't hesitate to contact our specialist intellectual property solicitors.

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John Pickervance

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Commercial

PinCentral Lancashire

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Daniel Fletcher

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Call0333 207 1145

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Katie Lee

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Call0333 207 4463

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Call0800 689 0831

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Contacting Us

Monday to Friday: 09:00 to 17:00
Saturday and Sunday: Closed