Understanding copyright law in the UK

Copyright is the legal right of a creator to prevent other people from copying assets that they create. The types of creative work that have copyright under English law are set out in a statute called the Copyright Designs and Patents Act, 1988 (or CDPA). Copyright can apply to a wide range of creations, such as photos, surveys, databases and software.

Every business will have valuable assets that contribute to its success, whether that be financially or by enhancing its reputation. Understanding copyright is fundamental to running a successful business. 

Finding your copyrightable material

Many businesses own far more copyrights than they realise. It’s important to know what copyrights your business has in relation to the work you create for your brand, otherwise, you may not be able to exploit them successfully. Also, the less you know about copyright law for UK businesses, the more likely it is that someone could infringe on your rights.

Our copyright solicitors are here to provide you with copyright law advice at every step. Whether you need to transfer ownership of copyright to or from another party, or simply copyright a new idea or design, our copyright lawyers can draft copyright assignments and licence any royalty agreements to help you generate maximum revenue. As well as drafting copyright notices and take-down policies, our copyright solicitors also handle cease and desist letters and general infringement actions. 

We are proud to say that our copyright lawyers have a strong record of success. If you are in need of copyright infringement solicitors in the UK, you have come to the right place! You can contact us today and have a free consultation to discuss how we can support your business with copyright legal advice.

Why is copyright important?

Copyright protects your work or branding and prevents other people or businesses from using it without permission. It is important to understand how to protect your copyrights for many reasons, including:

Helping you protect the value of what you create and stop other people from stealing it;

  • Adding to the value of your company
  • Making it easier to raise investment
  • Helping you create revenue streams from licensing or exploiting your copyrights 

What can be copyrighted in the UK? 

Copyrighting can be used for various works:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work (this might include illustrations and photography)
  • Original written work such as software and web content
  • Music recordings and sound recordings
  • Film and television recordings
  • ‘How to’ guides, articles, methodologies and documents
  • Broadcasts and compilations
  • The layout of published editions of written, dramatic and musical works
  • Branding and other designs

What are you not allowed to copyright?

Copyright law will not necessarily protect all creative works. For instance, it wouldn’t protect ideas, names or short phrases/taglines. As a business owner, you need to have an understanding of copyright in business. If a piece of work doesn’t meet the requirements for fixation or originality then our commercially minded team of copyright lawyers can advise how else to protect these works.

How our copyright solicitors can help

At LawBite, our copyright solicitors are well-versed in providing copyright legal advice for various industries. Our copyright solicitors can help you quickly and cost-effectively to:

  • Determine what copyrights you own or could own
  • Provide copyright legal advice on how to protect your assets
  • Help you maximise the commercial potential of your copyright
  • Help you avoid infringing other people's copyright

Our copyright infringement solicitors in the UK also deal with contentious issues, including:

  • Investigating suspected infringement of copyright in the UK
  • Advising on the tests for determining what amounts to copying
  • Explaining where the line is drawn between legal inspiration and illegal copying
  • Helping you understand when and how the defences and fair dealing exceptions apply in the context of infringement claims

Speak to an expert copyright lawyer

At LawBite, we recognise that your creative assets are vital to your success. Our copyright lawyers are well-versed in UK intellectual property and copyright law, and we’re committed to providing practical and tailored solutions to your specific needs. 

Whether you need assistance with determining what copyrights you currently own or could potentially own, or you require legal advice on how to protect your creative works effectively, we've got you covered.

We’re committed to helping you make the most of your copyrighted assets, whether that be through offering copyright legal advice or informing you of infringement regulations. So, if you are seeking comprehensive copyright legal services in the UK, book a free 15 minute consultation with one of our expert copyright lawyers. Don't leave your creative assets vulnerable – partner with us today and let's secure your future success together.

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Frequently asked questions

LawBite is the modern way for SMEs to get the high quality legal advice they need, but faster and cheaper.

As we look to revolutionise the traditional legal process, this may raise a number of questions on how we operate to provide your business with legal advice for your business that is; easier to access, clearer to understand and more affordable.

We have brought together the most frequently asked questions from our customers.

Primary infringement
The six acts of primary infringement don’t require knowledge of infringement or intention to infringe:
  • Copying the work, including downloading
  • Issuing copies of the work to the public
  • Renting or lending the work to the public
  • Performing, showing or playing the work in public
  • Communicating the work to the public
  • Making an adaption of the work or doing any of the above in relation to an adaptation
Authorising another person to do any of these acts is also a primary infringement.

You can get your legal representatives to send cease and desist letters. These letters inform the suspected infringer that he/she is making use of the work without the authorisation of the copyright owner and demanding that this action stops, or the infringer risks facing legal action.

Acts of secondary infringement require some knowledge by the infringer that the work is infringing and frequently apply to retailers or publishers.
These infringing acts include importing infringing copies of the work into the UK other than for domestic and private use; selling infringing copies; making, copies of copyrighted works; and knowingly transmitting infringing copies of the work over a telecommunications system such as the Internet.
If you’re the copyright owner in a piece of work, only you are permitted to do a number of specific acts during these periods of time; nobody else can do them without infringing your copyright. 
The CDPA (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) sets out these infringing acts, which are divided into two general categories: infringement and acts of secondary infringement.

Copyright doesn’t last forever, and the period of protection varies for different works:

  • Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works: 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last remaining author dies.
  • Films: 70 years from the end of the calendar years in which it was published.
  • Broadcasts: 50 years from the end of the calendar year of broadcast.
  • Typographical arrangement of published editions: 25 years from the end of the year of first publication.
  • Sui generis databases: 15 years from first publication.

How can LawBite help?

Our LawBriefs can provide expert guidance and reassurance, whether you are bringing or defending a legal claim, or resolving a dispute using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods like Mediation and Arbitration.

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