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Copyright an Overview on the Subsistence of Copyright

Copyright an Overview on the Subsistence of Copyright

Copyright an Overview on the Subsistence of Copyright

Sources of copyright Legislations

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 unregistered design rights.

The Purpose of the CDPA

This really is to provide the owner of the copyright in a work the right to avert others from trying to copy their work.

Classes of Work Safeguarded

An important point to make note of is that only these categories are protected 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 cannot be found in any one of the categories will not be covered by copyright. As a consequence it is important to decide what (if any), category a given work falls within as the first task of addressing any subject on copy right.

Criteria to Satisfy for Copyright Protection

When faced with a new copyright matter it is critical take into consideration that the work you are involved in must satisfy certain criteria in order to enjoy copyright protection.

The criterion varies according to the category:

Some but not all works have to be fixed

In most cases the works have to be original.

It must qualify for protection under UK legislation.

Once it is established that a work is in line with the above mentined criterion, the next step is to exclude the chance of copyright expiration and then the final step along the way of establishing the subsistence of copyright, is to consider period of time.

Subsistence: Works and the required Criteria for Protection


The first step when addressing copyright is to identify the “work” because without understanding what the work is you cant really address the copyright. In practice, it is commonplace for a single work to incorporate several different works.

Section.1(1) CDPA stipulates the works protected along with 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 papers, 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 as 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 s.3:

The definition for dramatic works found in s.3(1): is more of a clarification that dance and mime belong to this category rather than a proper definition of dramatic works. Nevertheless,using case law as a guide it can be seen that dramatic works are a “work of action, with or without words or music” which needs to be performed for its total realisation, therefere it is capable of being performed before an audience.

To illustrate this point be aware that, the script for a play on its own can be explained 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 is the tune for a song (even so,

note the lyrics are not inclusive, as these are a different literary work).

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

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

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

No matter the artistic deserve: graphic works, photographs, sculptures and collages all qualify as works. For instance diagrams, maps, charts and plans for example are graphic works,even if they have little or no artistic value and were not intended to be artistic as at when created.

Photograph is defined by the CDPA to take into account new technologies as they develop.

There is no definition for sculpture as such nevertheless there’s a useful guide defining sculptures as a 3D work made by an artists hand

There is no definition for a collage however, as outlined by case law for a collage to exist it’s required that all the many elements be stuck collectively.

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

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

Even so architectural drawings are on their own protected as artistic works so a building created by an architect, such as the Beetham Tower Manchester has multiple safeguards.

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

This category contains items for example furniture, fine jewellery, ceramics and appliqued quilts.

It has been held that such a work must:

have some visual appeal (be artistic); and

be made by a craftsperson (someone who exercises skill for making it and takes pleasure in his workmanship).

Sound recordings, films and broadcasts: section 5A, 5B and 6

These are occasionally referred to as secondary works as there will be at least one fundamental literary, dramatic or musical work. As an illustration ,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 can be defined as the layout and typesetting of a book, newspaper, journal etc. which qualifies as a published edition of (a new edition of a book isn’t created by just basically reprinting that same book. It is imperative that you note that the typographical arrangement is a work in its own right, distinct from the underlying literary work.

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