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Copyright: Are You Unknowingly Infringing Someone Else’s Work?

It's very easy to do ...


When it comes to copyright, many people are unaware of how extensive the law is and how easy it is to infringe. Infringement of copyright, whether intentional or by accident, is the infringement of the economic rights of the owner ...

Whether it's a download or a physical item, it's very easy to infringe copyright!

Whether it's a download or a physical item, it's very easy to infringe copyright!

copyright: terovesalainen / 123rf

There are two types of infringement, the first being Primary Infringement. This means that there is no license from the copyright owner and you either reproduce, use or distribute a copyrighted work.

Some interesting points include:

  • You do not need to have knowledge of doing so.

  • As copyright is a territory limited right, the act must occur within the UK although the authorisation of such an act may occur out of the UK.

  • There must be a causal connection or copying of the work such as directly (burning a CD onto your computer) or indirectly (copying drawings by copying an article that had been manufactured to those drawings).

  • Independently creating the same or similar work will not amount to infringement. However, for infringement to occur, it must be shown that the work was copied or derived from the copyrighted work. It's important to know that it has been shown that infringement may even be possible where there was a subconscious influence.

  • The act must be done in relation to the whole or substantial part of the work. What constitutes a substantial part is difficult to predict, but the courts will look at the copied version of the copyrighted work as a whole. Do note that it is necessary to consider the cumulative effect of what has been reproduced, and a big determining factor will be originality.

Secondary infringement happens when a person facilitates a Primary Infringement activity or deals with infringing copies of a work and they are aware they are doing it.

If a person facilitates Primary Infringement activities, or deals in infringing copies of a work, they will be in breach of copyright law when:

  • They permitted a place of public entertainment to be used for infringing performances. They are liable unless there are reasonable grounds for believing the performance would not infringe copyright (pub landlords are often caught out here if they play music without a public performance license).

  • They supplied an apparatus by which an infringing public performance occurs. They are liable where they knew or had reason to believe it would be used for copyright infringement purposes (DJ equipment hire companies often get into trouble with this).

  • They are processing, selling, hiring, commercially dealing with or prejudicially distributing a work they know or have reason to believe infringes copyright (remember bootlegged cassettes and VHS videos?).

There are, however, several exceptions that will allow these acts and will not amount to either a Primary or Secondary Infringement and that will be the subject of our next blog post.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If anything we've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about copyright, do click here to get in touch with us or leave a comment below and let's see how we can help you.

You can also visit our website at www.displayrights.com.

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About DisplayRights ...


In 2003, DisplayRights, formally known as Executive Interviews, recognised the rising demand for online video, specifically in the corporate sector, and relaunched itself as a company focused on the recording, repackaging, and rights distribution of television and radio news interviews. Since then, DisplayRights has expanded to become a full-service, global company recording over 150,000 interviews and news clips annually. DisplayRights is headquartered in the UK, with wholly-owned subsidiaries in the United States and Asia.

As the needs of our clients change, so do we! We have now fully rebranded to DisplayRights to better reflect what we do, which now includes talks and presentations as well as executive interviews. We hope that our new brand can better serve how our content partners and clients want to work with us.

We are proudly partnered with the world's leading business news networks, providing their guests with timely, professionally-produced, and fully licensed video clips to post to their public websites or corporate Intranets, use at trade shows, investor conferences, corporate meetings, and more.

In addition, we now offer registered access to more than 16,000 thought leadership videos from leading educational networks which can be accessed free of charge by anyone, helping them learn, grow and thrive.


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