Q&As

Can I register a copyright work?

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Produced in partnership with Steven Murray of Harrison Clark Rickerbys
Published on LexisPSL on 20/10/2017

The following IP Q&A Produced in partnership with Steven Murray of Harrison Clark Rickerbys provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can I register a copyright work?
  • Trade mark
  • Design right

Upon creation of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work or original non-literary written work, such as software, web content and databases, copyright protection is automatic pursuant to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988).

In the UK, copyright lasts for the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years after their death, with special provisions applicable to older unpublished works. There is not currently an official national register of copyright works in the UK, meaning that existence of the right is often not examined until the owner wants to licence or assign it, or issue proceedings. It is possible to register works using a private register such as the UK Copyright Service, a copyright registration facility.

Copyright infringement occurs when, without the copyright owner’s permission, someone carries out one of the copyright owner's exclusive rights, and an exception to copyright does not apply. The lack of any registration scheme makes it particularly important to be proactive in dealing with potential infringements, putting any third parties on notice of copyright interests.

In order to protect their position, a copyright owner should keep records and evidence of the artistic works created, including dates of publication or creation. Evidence of the progression of the work, such as drafts, rough recordings or sketches can also show that t

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