9. What do I do if someone infringes my copyright?

 

Infringement of copyright occurs when someone takes either all of your work, or a substantial part of it, without permission. However, there are several exceptions which allow a copyright work to be used without permission.

If someone has infringed your copyright you could contact them directly, consider mediation, or seek legal advice. If you decide to take legal action, there are a number of remedies that you can seek from the court.

The infringer can give a promise, known as an undertaking, that they will license the work from you, under terms that you agree.

The court can grant an injunction. This means that the judge will make an order to stop the person from using your work. This could also mean having your work returned to you or seizure of any infringing copies.

The court may also award damages. This may be with an order for damages; to restore you back into the position that you would have been in if the infringement had not occurred. Or it may be an account for profits; where the profits gained by the infringer are assigned to the original copyright owner.

Action against copyright infringement can be taken by the copyright holder or someone who has full licence of the work. It is also possible to take action against infringement of moral rights. So, even if you have sold your copyright to a publisher, for example, you can still assert your moral rights, such as objecting to derogatory treatment of your work. The court may grant an injunction to stop the person doing the derogatory act against your work.

In the Enforcement section you can find useful guidance on what you can do if you think someone has infringed your copyright, or if someone has accused you of copyright infringement (but please note that it does not constitute legal advice).

See: Sections 96 – 115(3) Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988The Copyright TribunalThe Intellectual Property Office Mediation Service

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