Copyright and IP Overview
To break down these headings further, you may find the following fact sheet useful. UK Copyright Law fact sheet from the UK Copyright Service. The link is supplied under the terms on the webpage.
Putting a copyright notice similar to 'Copyright © 2018 (name or business) - All Rights Reserved' on all your work doesn't give you legal protection but it does help deter intellectual property theft. Copyright can be registered with companies like the UK Copyright Service but there is no legal requirement to do so.
The owner of the copyright has the exclusive right to copy, rent, lend, perform, adapt or make public his or her work. However, it's good to know how to avoid copyright infringement. Even without deliberate intent, it's quite easy to break the law inadvertently. As such, here are a few guidelines to avoid copyright infringement as supplied by legislation.gov.uk.
UK Copyright Law
UK copyright law is covered comprehensively from the government's intellectual property office. If you already have published products or are considering developing them, the following areas of UK copyright law should be of interest. There are numerous sub-topic links beside these headings which will give you very comprehensive and detailed information on the government's copyright web page.
You can also find documents relating to the latest copyright changes on the governments 'Copyright Latest Documents' page. The above information is part published here under the open government license.
Intellectual Property and Your Work
What intellectual property is
Having the right type of intellectual property protection helps you to stop people stealing or copying:
- the names of your products or brands
- your inventions
- the design or look of your products
- things you write, make or produce
Copyright, patents, designs and trade marks are all types of intellectual property protection. You get some types of protection automatically, others you have to apply for.
What counts as intellectual property
Intellectual property is something unique that you physically create. An idea alone is not intellectual property. For example, an idea for a book doesn’t count, but the words you’ve written do.
Owning intellectual property
You own intellectual property if you:
- created it (and it meets the requirements for copyright, a patent or design)
- bought intellectual property rights from the creator or a previous owner
- have a brand that could be a trade mark, eg a well-known product name
Intellectual property can:
- have more than one owner
- belong to people or businesses
- be sold or transferred
Intellectual property if you’re self-employed
If you’re self-employed, you usually own the intellectual property even if your work was commissioned by someone else - unless your contract with them gives them the rights. You usually won’t own the intellectual property for something you created as part of your work while you were employed by someone else.