The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 is the fundamental legal act regulating and defining the copyright in the UK. In fact, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 is the latest legal act dedicated to the problem of copyright and its regulation. Taking into consideration that the act dates back almost two decades ago, it is quite natural that the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 is vulnerable to severe criticism from the part of specialists (Cole and Dempsey, 2002) as well as owners of copyright and intellectual property rights. Nevertheless, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act is the major legal act regulating copyright law and norms.
The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 gives creators of copyright material the right to control the ways in which the copyright material can be used. In this regard, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the copyright arises when an individual or organization creates a work and applies to the work if it is regarded as original, and exhibits a degree of labour, skill or judgment. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that normally the copyright attributes fully to the creator of the copyright material or work, but, in terms of contract, the work can be produced as a part of the employment. In such a situation, the copyright belongs to the individual or organization than hired the employee, who has created the copyright work. For instance, a writer can write a book for a publishing house or a singer can record an album in terms of contract with a recording company, which gives the copyright to the recording company. In such a way, the copyright is a broad concept which involves not only individuals, creators but also entire organizations.
Another important issue defined by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 is the duration of the copyright.
For literary, musical, dramatic or artistic works the copyright term is 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last remaining author of the work dies, or the work is made available to the public by authorised performance, broadcast, exhibition, etc. (UK Copyright Law: A Summary, 2010). Furthermore, the duration rights for sound records and broadcasts constitute 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last remaining author of the work dies, or the work is made available to the public (UK Copyright Law: A Summary, 2010). The copyright for typographical arrangements of published editions lasts for 25 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first published (UK Copyright Law: A Summary, 2010). The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 refers to several types of work, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, typographical arrangement of published editions, sound recordings, and films (UK Copyright Law: A Summary, 2010).
Obviously, the copyright law protects owners of the copyright and creators of the copyright materials from the violation of their copyright. At the same time, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 raises a severe criticism from the part of specialists (Lindsey, 2003). They argue that the existing copyright law prevents individuals from free use of information available to them. In other words, the existing copyright law limits the access of individuals to information. In response to criticism, British legislators have started to develop legislative amendments which can improve the existing copyright law and introduce changes that will meet interests of both the public and the creators of copyright materials.
In this respect, a public right to copy is one of the major concerns of critics of the existing copyright law. The public right to copy implies copying for personal use solely. This implies that the copied material will be used by individuals personally for non-profit goals. In this regard, British legislators suggest making copying music from a CD to a home computer legal (Copying CDs could be made legal, 2008). In such a way, the concept of public copying right can be applied to CDs. At this point, it is quite noteworthy to point out the fact that many British agree that copying for personal use should be legal (Marson, 2006).