Q&As

How will UK copyright law look post-Brexit?

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Produced in partnership with Guy Tritton of Hogarth Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 18/07/2017

The following IP Q&A Produced in partnership with Guy Tritton of Hogarth Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How will UK copyright law look post-Brexit?
  • Current position:
  • Implementation of EU copyright directives in UK
  • Brexit White Paper
  • Looking to the future
  • Court of Justice of the European Union judgments and the Supreme Court

Current position:

Copyright law in the UK has been harmonised substantially through various EU directives, but is less harmonised than other areas of intellectual property law (eg trade marks). These directives cover many areas of copyright including computer programs, rental, lending and neighbouring rights, satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission rights, the duration of copyright and database protection. In particular, the Information Society Directive (sometimes called the Copyright Directive) introduced a much deeper and more far ranging harmonisation of many of the fundamental aspects of copyright including the reproduction right, the communication to the public right and the range of permissible ‘fair dealing’ defences. In particular, in interpreting this directive, the EU has favoured the imposition of the ‘author’s own intellectual creation’ test for determining whether a work is ‘original’ rather than the ‘sweat of the brow’ approach that the UK had traditionally favoured (eg see Advocate-General Mengozzi in Football Dataco Ltd v Yahoo! UK Ltd).

The EU Commission has also put forward far-reaching EU copyright reforms under its so-called Digital Single Market strategy which was released in September 2016. There is little doubt that the EU will continue to enact copyright laws after Brexit to deal with the continuing challenge of the digital society and technological developments.

It should also be said that EU copyright law itself sits within a framework of international treaties such as the

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