Authors, creation and ownership of copyright – the main statutory provisions

Authorship and Ownership of CopyrightIn response to a recent enquiry, as to who owns copyright in published works, including academic publications, the three main provisions of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 are attached; (sections 9 to 11) which are the best starting point. Pursuant to section 9, the ‘author’ means the person who creates it, in the case of literary works, the author is taken to be the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken – in the University setting, is likely to be the Academic.

Section 10 addresses joint authorship, which means a work ‘produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of each author is ‘not distinct’ from that of the other author or authors. Section 11, the final section in the triumvirate confirms that the ‘author’ is the first owner of any copyright in it, subject to the important provision in section 11(2) that literary works etc made by employees in the course of employment, the employer is the first owner. The attached three sections is a good starting point for addressing prima facie ownership in copyright.

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