Have You Infringed Copyright?

I suspect that in one way or another most of us have infringed copyright law.  In a magistrate’s court one can face a fine of up to £50,000 and a sentence of six months. I suspect that for individual hobby infringement with no for profit element it is unlikely that legal action would be taken. In higher courts the sentence goes up to 10 years and an unlimited fine. I guess that means pirated videos or fake branded goods.

The government has a web site Intellectual Property Offences

It looks like section 2 the Copyright, Design and Patent act 1988 is pretty broad.  Distribution of material infringes the act.

It is possible that many universities sail a bit close to the wind with some of their educational materials. I am not sure that academics get enough training in this.

If I understand it correctly if someone photocopies say one of my Start-up role play games, that infringes copyright. If they then use it as a part of a course, that has gotten funding from the government that is even more iffy.

It goes on to talk about gain and loss, I guess these are the metrics for the punishment.

It all looks like a bit of a minefield.

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Excerpted from Start Up Loans UK

Copyright is an automatic intellectual property right, so you don’t need to apply for protection for your creative work.

As soon as you create something, such as a company logo or a take a photo, you are automatically assigned copyright.

Who owns copyright?

In most cases, the person or company that created the work exclusively owns the copyright.

They are referred to as the ‘first owner of copyright’ under the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.

There are exceptions, however. If work is produced as part of employment – such as by a member of your staff while performing duties as part of their job – then the copyright owner is usually the employer rather than the individual who created the work.

Graphic design companies, photography studios and copywriting agencies would own the copyright of the work their staff created, for example.

Just like any other asset, copyright may be transferred or sold by the copyright owner to another party.

Freelance or commissioned work will usually belong to the author of the work.

However, many freelancers are willing to transfer copyright as part of a contract.

This is essential if a freelance designer is creating a brand identity creating a brand identity or marketing materials.

As a business, you’ll need to ensure that all copyright is transferred to you and that the author waivers their moral rights to the work as well.

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Well, you learn something new every day…