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 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998 is referred to on many government web pages. You can read further about what constitutes and offence under this act on the government web page here: what is a copyright offence?
The Intellectual Property office provides more general information about copyright here: Intellectual Property Office.
More recently, the Court of Appeal ruled that copyright law also applies to online content and that publishers have the right to charge organisations that wish to copy this.
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.
Read the updated Copyright Guide for Communication Professionals developed in association with Corp Comms Magazine.
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