Copyright for your business

How do I get copyright protection for my work?

Guide

Copyright is an automatic right in the UK (and much of the rest of the world).

Unlike most other intellectual property rights, you don't have to apply for copyright and there is no official register of copyright holders.

Using the copyright symbol

It's a good idea to mark your work with the international copyright symbol © followed by your name and the year of creation. This will identify you as the owner of the copyright which will make it easier for a potential user to seek your permission.

To help show in any legal proceedings that you had created a copyright work, you can also:

  • leave a dated copy of your work with a bank or solicitor
  • post a copy of your work to yourself by special delivery, leaving the dated package unopened

It is important to note that this does not prove that you are the author or owner of the work.

For non-print material, where the © would not be visible, you could use other ways of presenting copyright information. For example, some websites require users to agree to their copyright terms and conditions before they can actually buy any music or film from their website.

You may also want to include a copyright notice on your website - see our sample website copyright statement.

International copyright protection

Under international copyright conventions, material created by UK nationals or residents is protected in many countries. It may help in certain countries if you have marked your work with the international copyright symbol ©, your name and the year your work was created.

If you think your copyright has been infringed you will need to take action against infringers using the laws of the country in which the alleged breach of your copyright takes place.

See more on intellectual property protection overseas.

  • Invest NI Helpline
    0800 181 4422
  • IPO Information Centre
    0300 300 2000