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Copyright provides the author/creator with exclusive rights over their creative work. It offers protection over the expression of ideas (not the idea itself) in various forms:

  • original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works
  • sound recordings, films or broadcasts
  • the typographical arrangement of published editions

Copyright protects the work from being used without the express permission of the creator. Copyright holders own exclusive rights to copy, publish and broadcast their work. Copyright holders may assign these rights to others for example by use of a licence.

Copyright does not have to be asserted, it is an automatic right (there is no legal requirement to include the © symbol to assert copyright, however as it makes it clear who is the rights holder, it is recommended best practice). Both published and unpublished works are covered by copyright.

Copyright exists in UK law under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and subsequent amendments.

Copyright is an intellectual property right.

Copyright infringement is against the law. If in doubt seek advice: copyright@cumbria.ac.uk.