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How to Obtain Copyright Protection

Obtaining Copyright Protection

There is no legal need to register any copyright work created - the right arises automatically on creation. However, to record ownership and to establish and record the creation of a work, consider implementing the following formalities as appropriate.

The owner of a copyright will normally be the author. However, where an employee creates works as a normal part of his job, the employer will normally be assumed to be the owner unless the employment contract says otherwise. It is best 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 his contract for the work commissioned says otherwise - it will often be stated that copyright passes to the client on payment.

It is vital to record when and where the copyright work was created and who created it, not only to establish creation and ownership, but also to record detail relevant to whether the work qualifies for UK copyright purposes (e.g. the place of first publication or nationality of the author). The record can be established by formally depositing the work and accompanying documentary evidence of creation with your solicitor, bank etc.

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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