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How to Obtain Copyright Protection

Obtaining Copyright Protection

In the UK you are under no obligation to register any copyright work which has been created - the right arises automatically on creation. However, as a matter of practicality, in order to record ownership and to establish and record the creation of a work, some formalities should be considered:


The owner of a copyright will normally be the author. However, if he is your employee who creates works as a normal part of his job, you will normally be assumed to be the owner unless the employment contract says otherwise. However it would generally be appropriate to confirm the position in the employment contract.

Conversely, an author of a commissioned work who is not an employee will be the legal owner in law unless the contract between you relating to the commission states to the contrary - commonly it will be agreed that copyright will pass to you on payment.

Record of Creation

It is vital that you keep a record as to when and where the copyright work was created and who created it. Such records are important, not only to establish creation and ownership, but also due to the fact that there are certain nationality requirements for UK copyright protection. These requirements can be met by formally depositing the work and accompanying documentary evidence of creation with your solicitor, bank etc.

Warning Possible Infringers

It is sensible to warn potential infringers of your copyright by placing a notice on copies of the work using the following formula - ©, year of publication and your or your company's name.

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