How do I protect my copyright?

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Published by a LexisNexis IP expert
Last updated on 04/12/2013

The following IP Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How do I protect my copyright?
  • Understand copyright subsistence
  • Use copyright notices
  • Do I actually own the copyright?
  • How do I transfer copyright?
  • How do I prevent infringement?
  • Registering copyright
  • What is allowed?
  • Key legislation
  • External links

How do I protect my copyright?

Understand copyright subsistence

Copyright recognises the skill and labour expended by an author in creating a work. It is not so much about ideas as about the way they are expressed. In the UK, copyright is not a registered right: it arises automatically: the first step in protecting it, is to identify if it subsists in the relevant work. The subject matter must also be a work and the author of a work must qualify for protection.

See Practice Note: Copyright—subsistence and qualification.

For the kinds of works protected, see Practice Note: Copyright―protectable works.

Use copyright notices

Mark your work with a simple notice including the copyright symbol, eg © Copyright Lexis®Nexis 2013. For more detailed notices, see Precedent: Intellectual property notices and Do I need to use trade mark and copyright notices?.

Do I actually own the copyright?

Make sure you are the owner. As author/creator you are not always the owner of copyright, although you are usually the first owner of copyright unless you are employed, in which case your employer is. See Practice Note: Copyright—authorship and ownership.

Where work is jointly created, formal (written) agreement is crucial for the protection  of the copyright work in the event that

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