Copyright

The Right

Copyright protects original artistic, musical, dramatic and literary works, including computer programs, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and typographical arrangements of published works. Examples of works which may attract copyright protection include fabric prints, design drawings, logos, product and packaging artwork, and instruction manuals.  In the UK, copyright arises automatically on the creation of an original work - i.e. it does not require registration.

Term

The term of copyright protection varies according to the type of work in question.  However, by way of a guide, the terms of protection of some of the principal forms of copyright work are as follows:

  • Copyright in an artistic, literary, dramatic or musical work lasts for 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the death of the author occurs. 
  • Copyright in a computer generated artistic, literary, dramatic or musical work lasts for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made. 
  • Copyright in a sound recording lasts for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the recording is made; or if, during that 50 year period, the recording is published, 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was first published; or if, during that 50 year period, the recording is not published but is played or communicated in public, 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was first so made available. 
  • Copyright in films lasts for 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the death occurs of the last to die of (i) the principal director; (ii) the author of the screenplay; (iii) the author of the dialogue; or (iv) the composer of music specially created for and used in the film. 
  • Copyright in broadcasts lasts for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the broadcast was made.

What We Do

We can advise on best practice for the recording and documenting of the creation of copyright works in order to assist with enforcement and commercialisation of copyright.  We can draft assignments and licences of copyright to allow exploitation of copyright, and handle disputes relating to the use of copyright without the owner’s consent.

Additional information