A guide to intellectual property rights – copyright

22nd April 2015

Have you ever written a book, song or created your own computer program? Copyright protects your original artistic, musical, dramatic and literary works, computer programs, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and typographical arrangements of published works.

However, the ease with which people can share almost any information over the internet has resulted in a huge growth in copyright infringement.  When a man was arrested on suspicion of leaking the film 'Expendables 3', his actions potentially costing the industry millions of pounds, Sylvester Stallone who co-wrote and starred in the film wrote to the British police to thank them.

Understanding copyright and enforcing your rights can ensure your work is not being used without your permission – or costing you dearly.  Martin de Ridder, solicitor in the dispute resolution and employment teams at Ansons Solicitors in Cannock, explains how copyright works.

Copyright arises automatically on the creation by an individual or company. The length of protection differs according to the type of work, as follows:

  • 70 years after the death of the author for artistic, musical, dramatic and literary works;
  • 50 years from the date of publication of sound recordings and broadcasts; and
  • as of 1 November 2013, increased to 70 years for sound recordings.

 It is important to note that copyright does not protect against independent development of the same idea, only against the actual copying of another's work. Ownership of copyright in a work allows owners to prevent unauthorised use of the work, such as:

  • the making of copies; or
  • issuing copies to the public.

Although copyright requires no registration, it is vital that businesses know their rights and ensure they owned by the correct legal entity. Our dispute resolution solicitors can assist you if you think your rights have been infringed.

For further information about copyright contact Martin de Ridder to discuss protection of your intellectual property rights on 01543 431 186 or email Ansons Solicitors has offices inCannock and Lichfield, Staffordshire.