Guide

Managing your copyright

Introduction

Copyright is an important form of protection for intellectual property (IP). Unlike some other types of IP protection it is automatically granted to the person or organisation that creates works, such as a piece of writing, a film or music. It comes into existence as soon as they are recorded in some way - eg in writing or being recorded. Without copyright protection, it would often be very easy for others to exploit material without paying the rights holder.

Copyright usually lasts for the life of the creator of the work plus 70 years, but there are exceptions to this rule for certain types of works.

This guide explains how to use and manage or licence your copyright effectively. It explains the rights you have under a copyright, how to enforce copyright and what you can do if it is infringed, and what rules apply to your copyright abroad. You will also find details on how you can use other people's copyright through allowable limited use or by buying or licensing the copyright on a piece of work. It also explains how you will need to contact the copyright owner to do this. This guide also explains what collecting societies are and what they do.