Sources of Copyright Law

We will begin by understanding where  the source on copyright comes from  and it is the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA).  It is the CDPA that is the main regulation for both copyright and also unregistered design rights.

The Goal of  the CDPA

This really is to provide the owner of the copyright  in a work the right to prevent others from copying their  work.

Classes of Work Protected

An important point to see is that only the subsequent categories are safeguarded by copyright:

· original literary works;

· original dramatic works;

· original musical works;

· original artistic works;

· films/sound recordings/broadcasts; and

· typographical arrangements of published editions.

 This is a closed list hence any works that  lie outside any one of the categories will not end up being protected by copyright. As a result  it is important to decide what (if any), category a given work falls within as the initial step of addressing any matter on copy right.

Criteria to Satisfy for Copyright Protection

 When assessing any copyright matter its  vital to take into consideration that the work  must match certain criteria in order to enjoy copyright protection.

The criterion varies depending on category:

·           Some but not all works should be fixed

·           In most cases the works need to be original.

·           It must qualify for protection under UK  legal rules.

 Upon confirming that the work under consideration adheres to the aforementioned criterion, the next step is always to exclude the probability of copyright expiration after which the final step at this juncture of establishing the subsistence of copyright, is to consider time frame.

Subsistence: Works and the required Criteria for Protection


 When assessing copyright the first step should be to identify the "work" because without knowing what the work is  you cant really assess the copyright.  It is usual for a single work to contain various different works.

S.1(1) CDPA  CDPA stipulates the works protected plus the sections following, case law and  section 1(1). (up to s.8.) offers some assistance on  works mentioned in  section 1(1).

The s. 3 definition includes computer software and databases. Examples of works which are held to be literary works are exam paperwork, application forms, calendars, catalogues and lists of football fixtures.

Database is defined within section 3A: Note how wide the meaning is. It is the "selection or arrangement of the contents" of a database which counts towards being a literary work, not its content, unless an item of content happens to qualify as a work in its own right. If the content does not comprise works, it may be protected by database right instead.

Dramatic works: section 1(1a) and section 3:

 The dramatic works definition found in s.3(1): is more of a clarification that dance and mime fall under this category rather than a real  definition of dramatic works. However, looking at case law it can be undersood  that dramatic works are really a "work of action, with or without words or music" which has to be performed for its full realisation, therefere  it is capable of being performed before an audience.

To illustrate this point  remember that, the script for a play on its own can be defined as a literary work, however the production of that same play performed on stage will be a dramatic work.

Musical works: s. 1 (1)(a)and s. 3

An example of a musical work would be the tune for a song (having said that,

 note the lyrics aren't inclusive, as these are another literary work).

Artistic works: section 1(1)(a) and s. 4

The scope of artistic work in section s. 4(1) is restricted to the following 3 categories:

a) Section 4(1)(a): graphic works, photographs, sculptures and collages

Regardless of  artistic value: graphic works, photographs, sculptures and collages all qualify as works. For instance diagrams, maps, charts and plans and so forth are graphic works,even if they have little if any artistic value and were not intended to be artistic when.

Photograph is defined by the CDPA to consider new technologies as  at when they develop.

There is not a definition for sculpture as such however there's a useful guide defining sculptures as a three dimensional work made by an artists hand

Collage is also not defined  however, according to case law for a collage to exist it is required that all various elements be stuck collectively.

b) Section 4(1)(b): works of architecture (as well as models)

Fixed structures, parts of fixed structures the models made for buildings just before they have been built are found in this category.

On the other hand architectural drawings are as a standalone protected as artistic works so a building produced by an architect, such as the Beetham structure Manchester has multiple .

c) Section 4(1)(c): works of artistic craftsmanship

This category contains items such as furniture, fine jewellery, ceramics and appliquéd quilts.

It has been held that this kind of work must:

· have some visual appeal (be artistic); and

· be made by a craftsperson (someone who exercises skill  when making it and takes satisfaction in his workmanship).

Sound recordings, films and broadcasts:  ss. 5A, 5B and 6

These are from time to time referred to as secondary works as there will be at least one fundamental literary, dramatic or musical work. For example ,a physical object will usually contain multiple works, e. g. a CD (sound recording) of a symphony (musical work). 

The typographical arrangement of published editions:  s. 1(1)(c) and section 8

 This is usually defined as the layout and typesetting of a book, newspaper, journal etc. which qualifies as a published edition of (a whole new edition of a book is not created by just purely reprinting that same book.  It is important to note that the typographical arrangement is a work in its own right, separate from the underlying literary work.

This point can be illustrated by comparing two different editions of the same classic novel  close examination will emphasize many differences in details such as physical appearance of the text on the page  page size, margins, paragraph spacing, typeface, type size, placement of page numbers, headers etc.