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Making the most of your copyright

19th July 2018

Making the most of your copyright

As a business owner, you may often create a variety of written or other original works.  These may be your products or support your service delivery, innovations, publicity, marketing campaigns or website.  Such documents and other creations can be valuable intellectual property and therefore represent an asset to your business and may be attractive to your competitors.

You may own the copyright in a range of works, including:

As the copyright owner, you are entitled to control the use of your works and exploit their value as commercial assets.

Copyright is initially owned by the author of a work which means the:

However, unless agreed otherwise, copyright usually passes to and can be exploited by the:

Copyright arises automatically whenever qualifying works are created or produced. Registration is not required, although certain copyright organisations will register works for a fee.

To attract protection, literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works must be original and written or recorded.  Films, sound recordings and typographical arrangements need not be original but must not be copied from similar works.

Your copyright entitles you to exercise ‘moral’ and ‘economic rights’ over your works.

Moral rights broadly enable you to:

Economic rights enable you to benefit and gain commercial value from your works.  Subject to limited exceptions, you are the only person entitled to:

Non-commercial or private use by others is permitted, without authorisation, for research, study, recording, reporting, teaching and other purposes.

Copyright duration depends on the type of work.  For literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, copyright protection expires 70 years from the end of the year of the author’s death.

You may sell and transfer some or all of your economic rights over any works or permit others to use them.  Permission is usually granted under a licence, subject to any obligations, restrictions or payments.  You cannot transfer your moral rights but you may waive or refrain from using them.

Copyright is infringed if someone exercises any of your exclusive rights without your permission, misusing a substantive part of your work.  It is essential to protect your rights and manage the use of your valued or confidential works to benefit your business.  The risk of infringement and misuse, in the UK or overseas, may be reduced by notifying others of your copyright ownership and considering a range of steps, including:

Our solicitors specialising in intellectual property will be able to advise you further on protecting and managing your copyright to optimise the benefit of your works. For more information, please contact us be emailing info@myerssolicitors.co.uk.


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.