Introduction to copyright and associated rights
Published by a LexisNexis IP expert
Last updated on 15/10/2019

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

  • Introduction to copyright and associated rights
  • Using this Practice Note
  • What is copyright?
  • Subsistence
  • Subsistence—no requirement to register
  • Protected works
  • Maintaining copyright
  • Copyright term
  • Copyright notices
  • Copyright policy
  • More...

Introduction to copyright and associated rights

This Practice Note is intended for commercial lawyers not specialised in IP. It provides an introduction to copyright and associated rights covering: what copyright is, how it comes to subsist, how to protect it, deal in it, manage it and exploit it. If you are a specialist IP lawyer, see instead the Copyright & associated rights—overview and Copyright disputes—overview and the documents referred to in them.

Using this Practice Note

This Practice Note is broadly grouped into five main sections that cover:

  1. subsistence of copyright (copyright is not a registered right). This section covers the requirement for the work to fall into a qualifying category of works and qualification generally

  2. maintaining copyright covering duration of copyright protection, copyright notices and policies

  3. dealing with copyright in agreements covering: assignments, licences and collective licensing

  4. asserting copyright covering: disputes, copyright exceptions (also known as permitted acts) and defences, and remedies available for those whose rights have been infringed

  5. rights associated with copyright such as moral rights and performance rights

What is copyright?

Copyright recognises the intellectual creation of an author when a work is created. Copyright is, put simply, a right to copy a work (the copyright owner may also restrict acts other than copying). The law is set out mainly in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988), which took effect from 1 August

Related documents:
Key definition:
Copyright definition
What does Copyright mean?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property protecting artistic or creative works such as books and other written material, drama, music, art, sound and video recordings, broadcasts and software. Copyright protects the expression of information or an idea, not the information or idea itself.

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