Q&As

For copyright to subsist in a literary work, among other requirements, it must be ‘recorded in writing or otherwise’ (CDPA 1988, s 3 (2)). If a work is created in the cloud (hosted on a server based in, say, India), how will this affect the UK’s test for copyright subsistence?

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Produced in partnership with Robert Cumming and Chris Hoole of Appleyard Lees
Published on LexisPSL on 25/09/2017

The following IP Q&A produced in partnership with Robert Cumming and Chris Hoole of Appleyard Lees provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • For copyright to subsist in a literary work, among other requirements, it must be ‘recorded in writing or otherwise’ (CDPA 1988, s 3 (2)). If a work is created in the cloud (hosted on a server based in, say, India), how will this affect the UK’s test for copyright subsistence?

At the time of drafting UK copyright legislation, the legislature’s mind was not in the cloud, but firmly on the ground. Technology has since progressed, bringing with it new technological challenges. No longer do we create work in solitude, using fixed, isolated platforms. Rather, we now work from the ‘cloud’. Our system desktops may be hosted anywhere in the world (I’m currently writing this from a server 100 miles away from my home), or you might upload documents to remote servers for access from any computer, at any time (ie Dropbox).

In the UK, under section 3 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988), literary copyright arises automatically once the work is ‘recorded’. Given that UK legislation did not envisage the ability to record literary content in a cloud, does the locatio

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