Copyright protects the original expression of creations such as:

  • literary works
  • dramatic works
  • musical works
  • artistic works

as well as films, sound recordings, broadcasts, layouts, typographical arrangements and software.

Copyright arises automatically upon creation of a work. It can be registered in some countries, although not in the UK.

Copyright gives the creator, or his employer, of an original work the exclusive rights to economic benefit of that work, usually for a limited time; in other words, to receive compensation for the work if it is used by others.

  • Reproduction – i.e. copying
  • Distribution - such as a book being sold in a bookshop.
  • Rental and lending – renting a picture for your wall
  • Public performance – such as performing a play
  • Communication to the public – such as putting a work on the internet
  • Adaptation – such as making a film of a book, or converting code to a different computer language

It also provides protection for moral rights for literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and film, as well as some performances relating to:

  • The right to attribution
  • The right to object to derogatory treatment of a work
  • The right to object to false attribution
  • The right to privacy of certain photographs and films

Copyright does not protect inventions or ideas. Whilst the duration of copyright can vary country to country, in some it can last for the lifetime of the author, plus seventy years.

It is important to keep records of

  1. the date of creation,
  2. who created it, and,
  3. the terms under which the copyright is created e.g. under an employment contract, or under a commission, and the terms of that commission.

There are some organisations such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and, in the UK, the commercial organisation Anti Copying in Design (ACID) that allow you to date-stamp or store your original work to provide evidence of original dates. Notably, these do not help prove who created it, simply that it was in the possession of the submitter on such and such a date.

Please contact us for a free initial consultation.


  • Office & Correspondence Address: Suite 4 Nexus, Solasta House, 8b Inverness Campus, Inverness , IV2 5NA Scotland
  • Tel: +44 (0) 1463 225749



Registered Company: SC362964. VAT Reg No. 975 633 873. Regulated by the IP Regulation Board (IPReg) – see IPReg’s Code of Conduct. The information on this website is not intended and should not be taken to be legal or other professional advice. We therefore accept no responsibility in any way for its use. Please contact us here if you wish to seek advice