Monday, 25 February 2013

Confusion on the Web

Crafting and Copyright in the UK

Part 1.

There's a lot of confusion out there in the crafting world as regards 'rights' - copyright, design right, trademark, patents ... in other words, all sorts of intellectual property rights.

Some of the information found on forums and the like is downright wrong, most is misleading and much is confusing. 

It is important to be aware that copyright law depends - it depends very largely on what country you are in, whether you are the copyright holder or not.   

What I write here is relevant to you if you are in the UK and the UK only.

If you are in Britain, whatever you read on an American (or Australian, or New Zealand, or even Ruritanian)  forum or blog about copyright or intellectual property rights might not - probably does not - apply to you - and vice versa, regardless of where the copyright work being discussed was first published.

First of all, and let's get this very clear, the word is 'copyright' not 'copywrite'. It's about rights - not about 'writing'. Well, it is about writing - and drawing, painting, composing ... about the rights which are held over such works.

Secondly, contrary to many statements I have read on t'internet, you don't need to actually do anything to obtain copyright on your own original, creative work - it's automatic. Anyone who tells you that you can register your copyright with them for only £X is doing nothing more than taking £X from you under false pretences - which is commonly known, in my neck of the woods at least, as 'theft'.

The international law covering copyright is known as the Berne Convention (its full title is actually 'The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works'and it dates from 1886. The UK signed it in 1887 (but didn't implement parts of it for some years); the US not until 1989! Almost all countries in the world (165 or so of them at last count) are signatories to the Convention.

Tomorrow - the differences between copyright, design right, trademark, patent and branding.

Any questions so far?

Please note that I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one on the internet. I am simply well-educated, with plenty of time, the ability to sift the chaff from the corn and I can access resources of all sorts.

1 comment:

  1. Hello there I just found you via the craft forum. Thanks so much for this post on copyright, really useful.
    Ali x