Copyright protects authors of original work. It gives them the right to control the way their work is reproduced and to charge for permission to do so.
Copyright is protected by laws dating back to the 1709 Statute of Anne. This introduced two concepts that are still enshrined in law: that an author owns the copyright of their work and that there should be a fixed term of protection for published works.
The current copyright law in the UK is The Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988, and its amendments. The Act protects the investment of time, money and effort by people who create original pieces of work. It also makes it an offence to copy without permission.
The Intellectual Property office provides more general information about copyright which can be found on their website Intellectual Property Office.
UK publishers invest over £1bn every year to create print edition and online content their websites now have more than 78 million unique visitors every month.