Copyright breach - intellectual property law

Copyrights are protected under an area of law called intellectual property, also known as IP. Whilst sometimes called the copyright and patents act, the legislation in force currently is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA).

Copyright law is designed to protect creative, artistic and written works, along with broadcasts and doesn’t require registration. As soon as the works are created, they are automatically protected by copyright under UK law. 

Copyright protection exists to stop other individuals or businesses from using your works for their own purposes without your permission. As with all elements of intellectual property law, this can be a complex area, so it’s important to have expert advice available when you suspect that someone has infringed on your copyright. At Stephensons, our copyright lawyers are able to provide all the advice and support required. Contact the team on 0203 816 9303.


loading staff

What is considered a breach of copyright?

Copyright can be infringed if an individual or business does any of the below without your express permission:

  • Makes copies of your work
  • Distributes copies of your work, whether for sale or free of charge
  • Lends or rents out your work to others
  • Shows, plays or performs your work in public
  • Adapts or edits your work
  • Puts your work on the internet

Copyright automatically covers the below creations under UK law:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work. This includes drawings, illustration and photography as well as plays, screenplays, scripts, books, sheet music and written lyrics
  • Music and sound recordings
  • Film and television or online video recordings
  • Non-literary written work, such as online content, databases and software
  • Broadcasts

Whilst some people choose to mark their work with a copyright symbol ©, it doesn’t actually affect the level of protection that you have under UK law.

Works created by UK nationals or residents that are subject to copyright are usually also protected in other countries, as long as these countries are members of one or more international copyright conventions.

The length of copyright protection will vary, depending on the type of work, but is usually valid for up to 70 years after the death of the creator(s). 

If you believe that something you hold copyright over has been infringed, contact an experienced copyright lawyers at Stephensons today by calling 0203 816 9303.

Legal assistance with copyright infringement

If you think that an individual or company has infringed on your copyright, we can help you to build a legal case. If your claim for copyright infringement is upheld, you may be granted an injunction that will prevent the infringer from taking any further action. You may also be able to confiscate or destroy any infringing items and damages may be awarded in some cases.

For expert advice at every step of the process, speak to Stephensons about copyright infringement.

What to do if accused of copyright infringement?

If you or your business have been accused of infringing someone else’s copyright, it can be a worrying time. Our intellectual property solicitors are experts in this area of law and can help you to build a defence if required. We can also discuss alternative options for resolving the dispute, such as mediation. Get in touch today for more information. Call us on 0203 816 9303.

4.7out of 10
4.7 score on Trustpilot Based on count 857

We're Great

It is our business to deliver legal services that work for our clients, and you can trust our specialists to take care of things on your behalf.

Our Trustpilot reviews

Company restructuring - preparation for sale

There can be a number of reasons a business may choose to restructure. Including the plan to sell the business , merge, grow, develop into new markets, or prepare for a management buy-out. This could mean that part of the business needs to be transferred...

Read more

Twitter commercial


Stephensons supports clients through pandemic

Stephensons is operating an agile working approach to assisting clients and is still open for business in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Following the guidance issued by Public Health England (PHE) the firm’s services remain open and...

Read more

Commercial reorder

  • Jonathan Chadwick
  • Louise Hebborn
  • David Baybut
  • Kate Bullen
  • Chris Graves
  • Alistair Gregory
  • Philip Richardson
  • Julie Ball
  • Martha McKinley
  • Paul Davies
  • Jonathon Waterhouse
  • Jessica Charnock​
  • Julie Hunter
  • Adam Pennington​​
  • Andrew Whitehead
  • Sebina Noreen Malik
  • Mark Williams​
  • Martin Haisley
  • Terri Meehan
  • Laurence Searle
  • Kenneth Tang
  • Neil Marshall
  • Declan Gilroy​
  • ​Kerrie Ainscough
  • Matthew Smith