Where does copyright usually exist?

We are all familiar with our favourite authors and recording artists making significant fortunes from their creative works. Aside from them being incredibly talented individuals, this is because copyright subsists in their works.

Copyright as an Intellectual Property right is a very attractive asset and should be commercially exploited where possible. For example, if your copyright is licenced to another party it could provide you with a significant income through royalties.

Due to the duration of copyright it can provide you or your business with a long-term asset. In some circumstances the artist’s Estate can even benefit from the copyright for up to 70 years after the artist passes away.

Copyright and creative works

Generally speaking, copyright can subsist in the following areas of creative works:-

  • Literary works (this could be the words in a social media post, a computer programme, databases, words in a book, song lyrics, the content of a blog or even a strapline in a magazine)
  • Musical works (i.e. work consisting of music exclusive of lyrics, words or actions intended to be sung)
  • Paintings
  • Sculptures
  • Photographs
  • Drawings, illustrations, charts and diagrams
  • Sound recordings, films, and broadcasts
  • Dramatic works (i.e. works capable of being performed, including dance and mime)

How can we assist you?

We work with our clients to ensure their copyright portfolio can be a valuable asset for them or their business now and in the long-term.

We have experience in appraising our client’s creative works as to advise them if copyright subsists in them, and the steps they can take to commercialise their copyright more effectively.

In addition, we act for creative individuals and agencies to help them pursue parties who are infringing their copyright, possibly by directly copying or even those selling and distributing copied works  We also help our clients defend copyright infringement claims made against them.

Who owns the copyright?

It is important to ensure you actually own the copyright in your creative works.

This may not always be the case if you are a co-author, an employee, contractor or a commissioning party.

As a result, we work with our clients to ensure they actually own the copyright in the creative works. We do this by taking steps to obtain copyright assignments and licences where appropriate. In addition, we help our employer and creative agency clients by ensuring their contracts have the appropriate clauses in them.

Do you have a copyright issue? Contact us

Please contact a member of the Disputes and Intellectual Property Team so they can learn about your current situation and objectives.  01483 302000

Meet the Intellectual Property Team

Niamh Cheek

Niamh Cheek

Legal Secretary
Lyssa Reeve

Lyssa Reeve

Associate Solicitor

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