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Copyright is a right to protect original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works from copying by others. The works need to be original in the sense of not being copies themselves, and copyright comes into existence automatically as soon as the work is created in some form.

Copyright also exists in the layout for typographical arrangements (e,g, to publish a book), recordings and broadcasts. Importantly computer programs and databases are protectable as copyright works.

Copyright can be a very long lasting right (up to 70 years after the death of the author in some cases) but the need to demonstrate copying by the other party can mean that it is difficult to enforce unless the similarities are clear.

Top Tip

It’s a good idea to indicate copyright by listing the name of the author, the copyright symbol ©, and the year the work was created. Although this is not needed for copyright to exist, it can be a helpful deterrent.


Contact us for more information and advice on copyright.