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Copyright Protection Solicitors
Copyright is a valuable right that helps businesses to protect valuable assets and creations. At JMW, our expert copyright protection solicitors are well-versed in helping clients navigate this often-tricky and difficult to grasp area of law.
We understand that copyright can be a legally complex issue, which is why we are on hand to provide the assistance your organisation needs when enforcing your rights, formalising licensing agreements and dealing with copyright disputes and infringements.
How JMW Can Help
At JMW, our specialist UK copyright lawyers regularly advise on all aspects of copyright regulation, including:
- Helping businesses identify the value in their copyrights
- Assisting companies in protecting and exploiting copyrights
- Overseeing the transfer of copyright when an asset has been created for a business
- Creating licensing deals to allow third parties to make use of copyrighted material
- Helping copyright holders to enforce their rights in the case of an infringement or dispute, whether under a contract or not
As globalisation increases and the internet continues to develop and grow, it is becoming more and more difficult to police copyright infringement. Copyright disputes can be costly, but failing to act on any infringement of copyright could cause even greater practical and reputational damage to your business.
JMW has an expert perspective and an up-to-the-minute understanding of these matters. Our commercial law team has worked with businesses across a broad range of industries, and can advise you on everything you need to do to protect and make the best possible use of your copyrights.
When Does Copyright Apply?
Copyright is a valuable legal protection mechanism that prevents created works and materials from being copied and distributed without authorisation and consent.
In the UK, there is no official registration system for protecting work as copyright. Instead, it is an automatic right that commences as soon as an original piece of work is written down or recorded, and it applies not only to written materials, but also music, dramatic works, artistic works and software, among other assets.
Examples of business materials that are protected under copyright law include:
- Employment manuals
- Marketing materials
- Software programs
- Artistic designs
It is important to identify when copyright protection may apply to your business assets so that it can be safeguarded, enforced and exploited to its maximum potential.
What is copyright infringement?
A case for copyright infringement can be made when it is demonstrable that a third party took one or more of the following actions without the permission of the copyright holder:
- Copying all or a substantial part of a piece of work
- Distributing copies of the asset to the public
- Renting or lending the work to another party
- Communicating the work to the public via a performance or broadcast
- Adapting the work, such as by creating an adaptation of a creative work, or translating an asset into another language
These acts can only be taken with a specific licence or some other form of legally-binding permission from the owner of the copyright, who can enforce this right if they identify an infringement.
What are the exceptions to copyright?
There are certain specific circumstances in which copyrights cannot be enforced, usually when it can be shown that the copying of the work was done for a recognised non-commercial purpose.
- Reproducing limited extracts of a piece of work for non-commercial research or individual study
- Copying work as part of a journalistic critique or review
- Citation or presentation of work for educational purposes
- Circumstances in which work is copied in order to make it accessible to people with disabilities
In all of these instances, it will need to be decided on a case-by-case basis whether the reproduction of the work constituted fair usage, or whether a licence from the copyright holder was required.
What can I do when my copyright is infringed?
If you suspect that your copyright has been infringed, it will be necessary to take the following steps:
- Collate evidence of the infringement
- Contact the party responsible for the alleged infringement, explaining how you believe they have breached your copyright and requesting that all unlawful copies of your work be withdrawn
- If they fail to take action by a specified deadline, consider pursuing legal action against those responsible
Proceedings can be initiated through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), under advisement by a solicitor with expertise in this area. If your work is registered with the UK Copyright Service, this can make it easier to demonstrate the validity of your copyright claim.
Talk to Us
If you are looking for expert advice regarding any aspect of copyright law, get in touch with our expert copyright protection solicitors today. Call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you at your convenience.