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