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How to Register Copyright?

In the UK, copyright exists for a piece of work automatically.

The first copyright of a piece of work belongs to its creator or the business which has employed someone to create it. However, there may be circumstances in which you need to be able to prove that your work was in existence on or by a given date. For example, where there is a dispute over a later work by a third party who you think has infringed your copyright. This is where you might want to consider the added protection of registering for copyright. Registration provides independent verification of your work and can provide evidence to support any copyright case you may encounter anywhere in the world.

What Is Copyright?

Copyright refers to the legal right granted to you or your business when you create a piece of original work. It’s a form of intellectual property which you can sell, license to third parties, or leave in your will to your loved ones. As soon as you record an idea, for example, by writing down the outline of a story, it’s protected by copyright. As long as the work is original, copyright protection is automatic. Copyright ensures works cannot be reproduced or used without your permission, meaning you can profit from your creation.

Does Your Business Need Copyright?

Copyright gives businesses and entrepreneurs exclusive rights to their original work and creations. These include the rights:

  • To copy a work
  • To issue copies of the work to the public (including rental or lending)
  • To perform, show or play the work in public
  • To broadcast the work or make it available online
  • To adapt the work or do any of the above concerning the adaptation.

Anyone who does any of these without permission or in situations not covered by statutory exceptions is infringing copyright and breaking the law. However, as with many areas of Intellectual Property law, there is a degree of vagueness about precisely what copyright covers. There are no hard and fast rules on what counts as ‘original’, and ultimately this is something which will be decided on a case by case basis by the courts. There is also no central record of copyright-protected work so it is up to individuals to ensure that they are not infringing other people’s rights. This can also lead to disputes as to who produced the ‘original’ version of a piece of work.

As a result, while copyright registration is optional, it does have benefits. By registering for copyright, you ensure that there is a verifiable record of the content of your work as it existed at that point in time. This can be valuable evidence if you ever need to prove your copyright claim (i.e. in a plagiarism case).

Because of this slight vagueness over copyright, it can also be better to use trademarking for logos and company names. This is because there is a central register of trademarks and once your trademark is accepted, it has robust and definite legal protection.

How to Register for Copyright?

There is no formal system in the UK for registering a copyright. Most commonly you would use the copyright symbol ©, followed by your name and the year the work was first published. To show a piece of work existed by a set date, you can send a copy to a reliable third party, such as a bank or solicitor.

You can also apply through a third-party company to register your copyright. This will likely result in you receiving a copyright certificate for your work, that you can use as evidence to settle any intellectual property theft disputes.

Are you ready to register for copyright? The company experts at Mint Formations will provide you with copyright guidance to give you peace of mind that your work is protected.

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