Our experienced copyright lawyers can help you to protect your creative works and ensure that you receive the appropriate recognition and financial reward for your efforts.

More about Copyright

Forbes Solicitors' copyright solicitors provide expert advice on all aspects of copyright law, including the registration and protection of copyright works, drafting and negotiating licensing agreements, and representing clients in copyright disputes.

What is Copyright

What is Copyright

Copyright is a form of legal protection which gives creators exclusive rights to control the use and distribution of their creative works such as books, music, films and other artistic dramatic and literary works. Copyright does not protect ideas for work, but it is only when the work itself is fixed, for example, in writing, that copyright subsists automatically (in the UK at least).

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.

Why choose our copyright solicitors?

Why choose our copyright solicitors?

Our copyright solicitors are highly experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of copyright law. We provide tailored advice and solutions to protect your intellectual property rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your creative works. We offer a personal and professional service, with a focus on achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. With our expertise and dedication, you can trust us to handle your copyright matters with the utmost care and attention.

Who do our copyright solicitors help?

Our copyright solicitors help individuals and businesses protect their creative works and intellectual property rights, including authors, artists, musicians, filmmakers, software developers, and companies in various industries.How can our copyright lawyers help?Our copyright lawyers can help protect your creative works by providing legal advice on copyright registration, infringement, licensing, and enforcement. We can also assist in negotiating and drafting contracts related to copyright, such as publishing agreements, distribution agreements, and licensing agreements. Our team can help you navigate the complex legal landscape of copyright law and ensure that your intellectual property rights are protected.

Get in touch with our teams now to benefit from their vast experience in providing professional legal services for Copyright Law cases to clients throughout the UK.

Copyright FAQs

What should I do if someone is infringing on my copyright?

If someone is infringing on your copyright, you should first try to resolve the issue through communication with the infringing party. If this is unsuccessful, you may need to take legal action by sending a cease and desist letter or filing a lawsuit. copyright infringement is a civil matter and can be pursued through the courts. It is recommended to seek legal advice before taking any action.

How can I avoid infringing on someone else's copyright?

To avoid infringing on someone else's copyright you should ensure that you have permission from the copyright owner before using their work. You can also use works that are in the public domain or use works under a Creative Commons licence. Additionally, you should always give credit to the original creator and avoid using substantial parts of their work without permission.

Who enforces copyright laws UK?

The enforcement of copyright laws is primarily the responsibility of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the police. The IPO is responsible for registering and granting copyright protection, while the police investigate and prosecute copyright infringement cases. Additionally, copyright owners can take legal action against infringers through civil courts.

What happens if you break the copyright law?

If you break copyright law you may face legal action, including fines and imprisonment. This can happen if you use someone else's work without permission, distribute copyrighted material without authorisation, or sell counterfeit goods. It is important to respect copyright laws to avoid legal consequences.

How much does it cost to copyright UK?

The cost of copyrighting in the UK varies depending on the type of work you want to protect and the method you choose to register it. The current fees for copyright registration in the UK range from £42 to £220. It's always best to consult with a copyright lawyer or the UK Intellectual Property Office for more specific information and guidance.

Can you sue for copyright infringement UK?

Yes, copyright infringement can be sued . The owner of the copyrighted material can take legal action against anyone who uses, copies, or distributes their work without permission. The copyright owner can seek damages and an injunction to prevent further infringement.

How long does copyright protection last?

Copyright protection lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years after their death.

What is fair use?

Fair use is a legal doctrine that allows the use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright owner for certain purposes, such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. the equivalent concept is called fair dealing, which allows for limited use of copyrighted material for specific purposes, such as criticism, review, news reporting, research, private study, or education. The use must be fair and not infringe on the copyright owner's rights.

How do I obtain copyright protection for my work?

Copyright protection is automatic and does not require registration. As soon as you create an original work, such as a book, song, or photograph, it is protected by copyright. However, it is recommended to mark your work with the copyright symbol (©), your name, and the year of creation to make it clear that you are the owner of the copyright. You can also register your work with the UK Copyright Service for additional evidence of ownership.

Our dedicated Intellectual Property team

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Partner and Head of Department, Commercial

John Pickervance

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Senior Associate, Commercial

Daniel Fletcher

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Associate, Commercial

Katie Lee

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