Is there copyright in my artistic work?
What protection does the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act offer?
Is live art protected by copyright?
Can ideas be protected by copyright?
There is no copyright on ideas until they are "fixed" in a physical medium, i.e. written down.
Can designs be copyright?
Design rights protect original works of 3D design. Design right ownership is automatically granted and lasts for 15 years from the creation of the design. It is not necessary to go through formalities unless an official "Registered Design" is made with the Patent Office, although you may wish to take some steps to prove that the design belongs to you.
If I sell my work is the copyright transferred to the buyer?
Copyright normally belongs, in the first instance, to the creator of the work. The author/artist may transfer the ownership of the copyright to another person but when an item is sold the copyright is not transferred to the buyer unless there is a specific agreement and copyright has been assigned to them.
Can copyright be shared?
If the work is created in the course of employment, or you are the creator of a film or video, shared copyright may be involved.
Is there any organisation that will look after my rights as an artist or designer?
The Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) is the collecting society which looks after the rights of artists and designers in the UK. DACS advises artists and designers on copyright issues and has reciprocal arrangements with collecting societies abroad. Visual artists of any discipline resident in the UK or Republic of Ireland may register with DACS for a small fee per year. People seeking to copy or reproduce artistic works in the UK have to clear this with DACS.
The © sign
Do I need to use the © sign to claim copyright on my work?
It is not strictly necessary in the UK where copyright is automatically granted to an original work. The copyright © symbol is a requirement in other countries and it is advisable to use it if work is to be put on the web as it also emphasises who the rights owner is.
How can I prove that I own copyright on a piece of written work?
The standard practice is to deposit a copy of the work with a bank or solicitor. You could also send a copy of it to yourself by special delivery (this gives a clear date stamp) but the envelope must remain unopened to establish that the work existed at a particular time.
The University of the Arts London and copyright
What are my rights as a member of staff of the University of the Arts London?
Employees of the University of the Arts London should refer to the section on copyright in their contract. The following apply: