Copyright infringement
Copyright infringement

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Copyright infringement
  • At a glance
  • Types of infringement
  • Principles of infringement—source and similarity
  • Acts of primary infringement
  • Authorisation
  • Commission's DSM strategy—press publishers' right

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) gives the copyright owner exclusive rights in the UK to carry out various acts in relation to the copyright work. Activities set out in CDPA 1988 carried out by those other than the copyright owner, without permission, may infringe the owner's exclusive rights.

At a glance

When a person buys a copyright work, such as sculpture, he buys the material of the sculpture and not necessarily the copyright in it unless provision for transfer of the copyright has been made. Copyright protects the creative investment made by the author of the work and infringement is, put simply, the making of unauthorised copies of the expression of a copyright work. This can be is done in several ways. By buying the sculpture, you are permitted to keep it and admire it. However you cannot, without permission of the copyright owner, make copies of it, adapt it or authorise another person to do this because these acts are restricted.

Both proof of copying from a copyright work and similarity (measured objectively) are required for primary infringement of copyright. For infringement to occur the defendant must have taken the whole of the copyright work, or part of it where that part is regarded as ‘substantial’. The copyright owner has exclusive rights in relation to the