Copyright is a right that arises automatically upon the creation of a qualifying work. The types of work that most commonly qualify for copyright are literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, although copyright can vest in other types of work such as typographical arrangements.
As copyright is a right that arises automatically there is no need to register for copyright protection in the UK (although it is recommended that copyright is registered in the US and China).
Normally copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the author, although this period can be different depending on the nature of the work and the purposes for which it is used.
Copyright is what it says it is, a right to prevent other people copying the work. In this way it differs from patent, trademark and registered design protection, which provide exclusive rights. This means that if someone produces a similar work to a copyright work independently, the copyright cannot be enforced against them, as they haven’t done any copying. In contrast, if someone independently produces a similar design to a registered design, the owner of the registered design may be able to enforce rights in the registration.
Therefore, if you produce a work that could qualify for patent, trademark or registered design protection, you are almost always in the strongest position if you seek one of these forms of registered protection.
We are often asked about the benefits of sending a work to yourself by special delivery post, and leaving the envelope unopened. The reasoning behind this is that you can demonstrate that you had produced the work by the date of mailing.
However, sending information by post is a somewhat anachronistic approach – we would suggest setting up an independent email account (for example a Gmail® account, which dates receipt of any emails) and simply emailing yourself any material that you wish to record.
Please contact us for a consultation.