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Copyright Infringement - What to expect if you sue

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Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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10 March 2011

Copyright: The Law

Copyright is a property right, which subsists in various 'works', such as 'literary works', 'artistic works' and 'musical works' (all as defined in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 ('the Act')). The author of a 'work' is usually the person who creates it and he (or his employer) is normally the first owner of the copyright, which will last until 70 years after the author's death or 50 years after it was created, depending on the type of the work.

In the case of a published literary or artistic work, copyright endures for 70 years from the end of the year in which an author dies.

Copyright does not prevent the copying of ideas but only the copying of the form in which the ideas are expressed.

Copyright gives its owner the exclusive right to do certain things in relation to the work, including making copies, broadcasting and exploiting the work in other media. Anyone else who does any of these things without the owner's permission infringes copyright and may be subject to legal action as a result.

In addition to the copyright, the author has the right to be identified as such and has the right to object to derogatory treatment of the work. These 'moral rights' are independent of copyright and are retained even where the author has sold or licensed the copyright to another (unless these moral rights are waived under the terms of a written contract).

It is open to others to create similar, or even identical works as long as they do so independently and by their own efforts. There can by no copyright infringement without copying (direct or indirect).

Infringement Proceedings: How long does it take?

Copyright infringement proceedings often take in the region of 24 months from start to end of a full, contested trial when a final injunction is either granted or refused. A claimant can seek to limit the delay otherwise built into the system by additionally applying for an immediate or temporary injunction pending trial.

What should you expect to get a damages?

A claimant which shows at a final trial that copyright infringement has occurred is usually entitled to a Court inquiry as to what damages it has suffered (a separate, self-contained assessment proceeding which follows).

What about my costs?

Most court actions include a claim by the claimant for its legal costs to be paid and the usual rule is that the loser pays a proportion - which can vary. For present purposes one should assume and work on 65% basis of the winner's costs.

Riyaz Jariwalla is a solicitor who specialises in contentious intellectual property matters and commercial litigation.


About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-03-16 13:21:02 in Legal Articles

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