Copyright is a fantastic intellectual property right. The idea behind it is to protect the “creative stamp” of authors when creating a work. It can protect a wide range of original works, including sound recordings, films, photographs and literary works.
Copyright comes into existence once an author has put pen to paper (or the like) to record that creative stamp in a durable format. For example, a sound file, a movie, a picture, or a book. Even better, copyright is entirely free and automatically assigned to the creator, owing to there being no registration process in the UK or EU.
Copyright infringement is the act of violating the exclusive list of rights afforded to a copyright owner without their permission.
Section 16 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) gives a list of exclusive rights a copyright owner is entitled to do in relation to their copyright work. These include copying the work and issuing copies to the public, through to performing the work in public or making an adaptation of the work.
If a person commits any of these acts without the copyright owner’s permission, it is known as an act of “primary infringement”. Primary infringement generally requires:
Furthermore, Sections 22 – 26 of the CDPA go on to list the various acts of “secondary infringement”. These include importing an infringing copy, dealing with infringing copies, and making means for making infringing copies. These acts are generally aimed at those further down the supply chain and the main difference between secondary and primary infringement is that the infringers state of mind is irrelevant for primary infringement (i.e. it’s not a defence to say you didn’t know it was an infringement), whereas it is relevant for secondary infringement (as it can sometimes be a defence to show there was no knowledge of the infringement).
In order to not infringe copyright it is useful to take the following into account:
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