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In the modern digital age of music and film downloads, and the instant copying and pasting of images from the internet, the dusty old copyright laws have been press ganged into service like never before.

Copyright was never conceived to deal with an age like ours, and it has been the subject of considerable abuse from politicians and the public. However, despite this it is still a valid and sometimes very powerful tool which can be used to protect your work.

We often deal with copyright infringement claims, usually alongside other rights, and we are well equipped to advise you on whether you have a legitimate complaint, and how to progress it.

Please see the various pages in this section for further information.

What is copyright?

What is Copyright?

Copyright protects artistic works, such as original books, plays, music, visual art and films. However, because it is so hard to define exactly what qualifies as art, copyright also protects any new work of a non-aesthetic nature, such as design drawings, computer code, client lists and other documents.

Copyright only protects the form of a work, and not the ideas behind it. To infringe the copyright in a book it is necessary to actually use the same wording. If the story is re-written using different words, then the copyright is not infringed. The most common forms of copyright infringement are the unauthorised use of photographs, and of course illegal downloads, where the works are taken in their entirety. However, claims can also relate to counterfeit products in some circumstances, and also to the unauthorised use of visual logos.

It is not necessary to apply for copyright protection in the UK, as instead it simply applies to any new work once it has been recorded in permanent form. It is useful to record the date the work was created in case this must be proved later, which can be achieved by simply dating it, or depositing it with a bank or other organisation which can provide a proof of date.

It is however important to ensure that if you use an outside agency to create a copyright work  for you, the ownership is clearly transferred to you by written agreement.

Copyright Infringement

Copyright Infringement

The copyright in a work is infringed if someone copies a substantial part of it. In the case of the unauthorised use of photographs or text, or illegal downloads, the question of infringement can be straightforward if the original work has been copied in full. What is more complex is identifying the culprit and then taking effective action.

Copyright is there to protect your work, but it is up to you to enforce your rights. Therefore access to cost-effective and efficient enforcement services is vital if copyright is to serve its purpose.

Some high profile copyright court cases have attracted attention for their high cost, but it is very rare for claims to go so far. In most copyright infringement situations the infringer capitulates quickly, preventing large costs being incurred. Every situation is different, and it is a question of employing the right strategy.

If a copyright holder wants to put a stop to an infringer’s activities, in many cases a simple cease and desist letter will achieve the desired result. If not, it may be necessary to start an infringement action in the Patents County Court or the High Court, which places such pressure on infringers that most give in straightaway. The costs of taking such initial actions are usually within the means of most businesses.

If you would like to know more about enforcing your copyright please contact us.

Rapid Response

Email us and we WILL endeavour to reply within 1 working day

1 Hour Free Consultation

To all new clients to discuss their requirements

Douglas Johnstone

Partner - UK & European Patent Attorney

Jerry Bridge-Butler

Partner - UK & European Patent Attorney; UK Trade Mark Attorney

Gareth Ashton

Partner - UK & European Patent Attorney

Michael Robinson

Patents and Designs Technical Assistant

1 Hour Free Consultation

We offer an hour's free consultation to all new clients to discuss their requirements. If you would like to set up a meeting, please call us, or use the form opposite to leave your details so that we can contact you.

With our Rapid Response guarantee email us and we will endeavour to reply within 1 working day.