Copyright – General Principles

Quick facts

Copyright protects original creative work against unauthorised copying, adaptation and so on.

Copyright protection lasts for 70 years after the death of the creator of the work.

Copyright does not protect ideas until they are physically recorded in some way.

There is no “register” of copyright in the UK, it arises automatically.


Infringement tests

Do you want to include in your marketing material anything that you have quoted or extracted from existing material?

Or, have you taken someone else’s work and adapted it to produce your own version of it?


Avoiding problems

If the answer is yes to either question there is a risk that the marketing material will infringe copyright belonging to someone else.

If you have not used a substantial part of the original work you may not have infringed copyright (substantially is measured qualitatively as well as quantitatively).

If you have used the whole, or a substantial part of someone else’s work you must either obtain the owner’s permission to use/adapt the original work or take legal advice on how to modify your marketing material so as not to infringe copyright.

Source: Nicola McCormick (Michael Simkins LLP Solicitors) at the DMA Email Marketing Conference 1st November 2007.

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