In order to understand the current situation concerning the copyright law and major challenges the copyright law faces in the UK, it is necessary to dwell upon key facts concerning the copyright law because it will help to understand the essence of existing regulations, norms and principles of the copyright law in the UK. In actuality, the copyright law is one of the fundamental rights and legal acts because it regulates and controls the protection of copyright and intellectual property rights throughout the UK. The role and significance of the copyright law in the UK increase respectively to the increasing role of information and intellectual property in the contemporary society.
In this regard, the role of intellectual property can hardly be underestimated because intellectual property along with information are major values of the modern society, while industries using intellectual property and information play the leading part in the national economy of the UK. For instance, music and entertainment industries are among the most profitable industries in the UK (Cole and Dempsey 2002). Therefore, the effectiveness of the copyright law is crucial for the normal development of the UK’s economy.
- Automaticity of copyright protection
On analyzing the fundamental principles and norms of the copyright law, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the copyright law in the UK is automatic. What is meant here is the fact that as soon as there is a record in any form of what has been created the copyright protection comes into action. In this respect, it is necessary to point out that no written registration is required under the UK’s copyright law. Therefore, the intellectual property rights are protected from the illegal use and unauthorized use of products created by owners of intellectual property rights. The automaticity of the copyright protection is crucial because it prevents any forms of the violation of the copyright law.
In fact, the ownership of the copyright and intellectual property rights guarantees that the owner of the right is protected from the unauthorized use of his or her intellectual property in any form.
At the same time, creator of a record can provide evidence of the time the work has been created. At first glance, such evidence is not necessary but it is preferably to provide such evidence to prevent legal disputes on the record because, in case of any disputes, the owner of the record can refer to the specific time of the creation of the record to prove his or her copyright and intellectual property right. To get evidence of the specific time of the creation of a record, a creator can deposit the record with a bank or solicitor. In such a way, the specific time of the creation of the record will be recorded and the copyright of the creator will be fully protected.
- Copying for fair use
In spite of the strict protection of copyright and intellectual property rights in the UK, specialists (Viardot, 2001) still point out that individuals can copy for fair use. What is meant here is the fact that individuals can use a short excerpt and almost always attributed to the original author to use the record fairly. Otherwise, the copyright law will be violated and the use of records will be illegal and unauthorised by the author or creator of the records. The provision of evidence of the time of the creation may be crucial for the overall legality of the copyright of the record.
On the other hand, the lack of the clear indication in the copyright law to the necessity of the registration of records implies wide possibilities for the protection of copyright. To put it more precisely, the fact of the creation of a record and the time of its creation can be proved in different ways and the written registration is not the only way to provide evidence of the time of the creation of records. Therefore, creators of records can protect their copyright and intellectual property rights in the UK, even if they do not have the written registration of their record and the time of its creation.
- Exceptions to copyright
At first glance, there are a few possibilities of using records and other intellectual property without violating the copyright law in the UK. In this regard, the fair use of records is the major way to use records in a legal way. In actuality, there are certain activities that do not infringe copyright (Lyman, 1998). In actuality, such activities are rather exceptional than normal and, as a rule, they are defined by the contract or other agreement, which often involves the owner of the copyright and intellectual property rights. At the same time, exceptions provide opportunities for using copyright materials. For instance, the use of copyright material may be legal if it is used for non-profit researches and private studies, criticism or review, teaching in schools and educational establishments, not for profit playing of sound records and to help visually impaired people (Gantz and Rochester, 2005). In such a way, exceptions from the copyright law aim mainly at the provision of copyright material for individual use only and, what is more important, for not for profit use only. Otherwise, the use of copyright material is liable to legal action in terms of the copyright law as the violation of the aforementioned law. Naturally, such limitations provide possibilities for the legal individual use of copyright material which is essential for individuals and does not cause harm to the author or owner of the copyright and intellectual property rights.