Copyright Infringement - What to expect if you sue
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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
What should you expect to get a
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