Copyright for your business

How can copyright help my business?

Guide

Copyright can be an important source of income for your business. If your business owns the copyright in a piece of work - eg an advertising jingle, a technical manual, song lyric or a magazine article - you can control how it's used commercially.

For example, you could charge every time someone plays your jingle on the radio, downloads your manual from the internet, makes copies of your song lyrics or reprints your magazine article.

Controlling how your work is used

Copyright means that copies of your work:

  • cannot be made, issued, rented or loaned without your permission
  • may not be adapted, performed or broadcast without your permission

Importantly, it means you can take action to stop any copyright infringement.

Private right

Copyright is a private right which means it is your responsibility to take action if anyone makes use of the whole or a substantial part of your work without your permission.

Copyright is a type of intellectual property and like other property rights it can be:

  • sold
  • licensed
  • transferred
  • inherited

In several fields, copyright owners have come together to form collecting societies that work on their behalf to collect royalties by issuing licences. They can simplify the process for copyright owners as well as for those who wish to make repeated use of your original copyright works. Read GOV.UK's guide on licensing bodies and collecting societies.

Copyright disputes

Where copyright owners and users cannot reach agreement on terms and conditions, the Copyright Tribunal is available to establish the facts and reach a decision.

See more on managing your copyright.