Copyright law and uses of a copyright notice

Under UK law, if a work satisfies the requirements as to originality and qualifying person or first publication, it will automatically gain copyright protection as soon as it is recorded (whether on paper or in electronic form). The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) does not contain a requirement for the work specifically to incorporate a copyright notice.

It is advisable to include a copyright notice for the following reasons:
  • The notice serves as a warning or reminder to anyone using the work that copyright exists and that action may be taken if the work is copied. The absence of a regime for the registration of copyright means that third parties will not discover the owner's rights by searching public registers. This increases the need for the copyright owner to notify third parties of the existence of his right, for example by affixing a notice to his work.
  • The inclusion of the notice may be of evidential use to a copyright owner in an infringement case.
  • In an infringement action, if a defendant can prove that he did not know, and had no reason to believe that copyright subsisted in the work to which the action relates, the claimant is not entitled to damages.
  • In order to prove secondary infringement under the CDPA, a defendant must know or have reason to believe that he is dealing with an infringing copy.
  • A person may face criminal sanctions if he deals (for example, by selling, importing or distributing) with an infringing copy of a copyright work which he knows or has reason to believe is an infringing copy.
  • In the case of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, if a name purporting to be that of the author of the work appears on copies of the work as published or on the work when it was made, the person whose name appears is presumed to be the author unless and until the contrary is proved. 
  • If copies of a computer program are issued to the public in electronic form bearing a statement that a named person is the owner of copyright in the program at the date of issue of the copies, or that the program was first published in a specified country.
  • As a result of the amendment of the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/2967), a presumption now arises in relation to works covered by the publication right; where copies of the work are issued to the public and bear a statement that a named person is the owner of the publication right in that work at the date of issue of the copies.
It is important for a company to establish a policy setting out the company’s approach to the maintenance, protection and exploitation of copyrightArticle Search, including the use of a copyright notice. The copyright notice has to relay the year of publication and the name of copyright owner. This is key for the notice to be valid and potentially enforceable.

Author: Innes Donaldson
Source: Free Articles from