Copyright and Performance Rights

Copyright is a property right which subsists in original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, published editions of works, sound recordings (including CDs), films (including videos and DVDs) and broadcasts. Copyright protection is available throughout the UK and much of the world. In the UK, copyright is created automatically and no registration is required in order to obtain copyright protection.

Copyright is a complex area of law. Identifying the key copyright material in your business means you can monitor it and protect it.

How long does it last? For literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works – life of author plus 70 years. In the case of sound recordings – 50 years. Typographical arrangements attract 25 years. Broadcast rights vary in duration.

Copyright covers everything from software programs to dramatic works (including dance or mime), to director’s film rights. Copyright can be a complex area of law with many interwoven rights existing together, especially in new media.

Moral Rights are rights conferred on an author of certain types of copyright works and apply to literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works and also to film. The principal moral rights are the right to be identified as the author and the right not to have the work subjected to derogatory treatment. Moral rights can be waived by a signed written agreement.

Performance rights are rights conferred on a performer, by requiring his consent to the exploitation of his performances and on a person having recording rights in relation to a performance. Performance rights are independent of any copyright in or moral rights relating to any works performed.

Protection of Your Copyright Material

We can give specialist advice on the protection of your Copyright eligible materials, including:

  • Creating a tailored strategy for your business so that you have the tools to identify and protect your copyright eligible materials.
  • Undertaking a full audit of your current materials to ensure that your business is protecting and exploiting all of its copyright eligible material.
  • Advising your business on the creation of new materials in order for them to qualify for copyright protection.
  • Advising your business on complex copyright matters involving public performance and the reuse of copyright protected works.
  • Ensuring that specialist and valuable materials, such as software, are protected.
  • Investigating historical and international copyright claims.

Enforcement and Defence of any Copyright Claims

We can enforce your rights where a third party is using your copyright material. We can draft substantive letters before action and in extreme cases bring injunctive proceedings to prevent any continual use of your copyright material. We will always advise you on the commercial merits of bringing a copyright claim and will always seek the result that is best for you and your business.

We can advise you in the event that a third party alleges that you have infringed their copyright material. We will act on your behalf in defending any court action taken for infringement.

We regularly advise and participate on our client’s behalf in settlement negotiations, mediation and alternative dispute resolution.

Commercialisation of Your Copyright Material

Your copyright material can be a very valuable asset and it is important that your business is making the most of it. We can advise you on commercialising your copyright material through the use of a number of legal mediums. Our main aim is to ensure that your material yields the highest possible commercial return whilst remaining fully protected.