Copyright registration in United Kingdom. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in north-western Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom has the world’s fifth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the tenth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It has a high-income economy and a very high human development index rating, ranking 13th in the world. The UK became the world’s first industrialized country and was the world’s foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the UK remains one of the world’s great powers, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological, and political influence internationally. Accordingly, many businesses want to enter this market and one of the most important preparations a business needs to take before expanding to this country is to learn the procedure of copyright registration in United Kingdom.
Copyright in United Kingdom
Unlike other intellectual property rights such as trademarks, patents, industrial designs, plant varieties, etc., copyright does not need to be registered for protection but will be automatically protected from the time the works are created.
The creation must be visible in a certain material form, like content, quality, form, medium, language, published or unpublished, registered or unregistered.
Accordingly, whether registered or not, the copyright to the work will still be protected. However, the creator should still apply for copyright registration in United Kingdom early because early registration will give the author/owner of the work many advantages in the event of a dispute.
When unauthorized use of work occurs around the world, the owner of a work who has made a copyright registration in United Kingdom will not have to waste time and complicate matters with proving himself/herself to be the legitimate owner of the work.
Thereby, in order to avoid passivity, the owner of the work should make a copyright registration in United Kingdom immediately to protect their rights and interests when there is an infringement.
Copyright registration in United Kingdom
United Kingdom is a member country of The Berne Convention for Copyright since 1887.
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (the Berne Convention) is an international agreement governing copyright. The agreement was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886.
As United Kingdom is a contracting party of the Berne Convention, any work originating in United Kingdom will be given copyright protection in each of the Berne Convention member countries.
In most countries, copyright protection is automatic as soon as the work existed in material form. However, the copyright registration in United Kingdom is critical in order for the copyright owner to obtain evidence of copyright.
Evidence of copyright is extremely important even when the works are automatically protected according to copyright law.
When registering, the work will get an application submission date, as well as information about the creation and proof of creative concept and development. This provides unambiguous proof of authorship and ownership that can’t be denied.
Proof of copyright is essential in an age when the publishing, dissemination, and theft of material is extremely easy with the exposure of the Internet.
If copyright registration is not made, copyright owners will lose a big amount of money as well as time needed to resolve issues related to copyright, proving ownership of the original work.
If the copyright owner has already registered for copyright protection to the IP office, they would have a strong legal foundation which would increase their chance of winning against the violating parties.
Documents for copyright registration in United Kingdom
To obtain copyright registration in United Kingdom, the author of the work needs to prepare the following documents:
- Declaration of copyright registration in United Kingdom;
- Two copies of copyrighted work;
- Documents proving the right to apply;
- Written consent of co-authors, if the work has co-authors;
- Written consent of the co-owners, if the copyright is jointly owned;
- Notarized identity card of the author or owner of the work;
- Power of Attorney, if the applicant is an authorized person;
- Notarized copy of the company’s business registration certificate (if the owner is a company).
The copyright law of United Kingdom
Copyright protection in Britain dates back to the 1556 Charter of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers. The Licensing of the Press Act 1662 gave publishers exclusive printing rights, but did not give any rights to authors. Parliament failed to renew the Act in 1694, primarily to remove monopoly and encourage a free press.
The modern concept of copyright originated in Great Britain, in the year 1710, with the Statute of Anne. This Act prescribed a copyright term of fourteen years, and let the author renew for another fourteen years, after which the work went into the public domain. Over the years, additional acts and case law steadily refined the definitions of what could be protected, including derivative works, and the degree of protection given.
Copyright law is now governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This Act came into force on 1 August 1989, save for some minor provisions. Various amendments have been made to the original statute, mostly originating from Copyright law of the European Union and related case law.
You can see a list of United Kingdom IP firms here.