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Copyright ownership

As copyright exists automatically upon the creation of a work, complications can arise concerning its ownership.

A business must be able to prove ownership of copyright in order to enforce those rights. The burden of establishing ownership may be complicated in the following situations:

  • Where the copyright work was produced by an employee (who may no longer be with the business);
  • Where an independent designer creates the copyright work;
  • Where a business designs the copyright work for another party; and
  • Where there is more than one author of the work.

In all such cases it is important to establish at the outset who owns copyright. If there is doubt, there should be a formal agreement in place prior to creation of the copyright work and if required a subsequent assignment to the appropriate party.

At James & Wells we specialise in setting up procedures for businesses so that ownership of copyright is always clearly defined.