If you create an original piece of work copyright law automatically gives you control over its distribution, use and modification for a specific period of time. The time limits are defined in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Copyright protection can be applied to many creative works including novels, instruction manuals, computer programs and databases, published editions of works, artistic works, sound recordings, films, videos and broadcasts.
Owning the copyright gives you control. It ensures you profit from your creation. A copyright protects ‘the right to copy’ and ensures that you are credited for your work. It also gives privileges such as:
- determining who may adapt the work to other forms
- who may perform the work
- who may financially benefit from it
I paid for it – so I own it, right?
Paying a freelancer or supplier for a piece of work doesn’t mean you own the copyright, unless they specifically assign it to you, or copyright transfer is included in your contract terms. Similarly, you can’t copyright an idea – only a piece of work that expresses the idea in an original way.
As always, getting the right advice early on will save time, effort and stress in the longer term. We work with creators and commissioners of original work to ensure that copyright ownership is clear, and that contract terms are fair, appropriate and enforceable.
We also help copyright owners enforce their rights.