Copyright protection – Copying

Copyright protection covers primary and secondary infringement. Primary infringement is an offence of strict liability (there is no requirement of intent or even knowledge here). Secondary infringement is where the Defendant knows of the infringement or would of had reasonable grounds for knowing of the infringement at the time of the offence.

Primary infringement

A person who does any of the following acts restricted under copyright law in respect of the whole or a substantial part of the copyright work within the UK without consent from the owner of the copyright his act shall be an act of primary copyright infringement:

  1. Copying work which has copyright protection (copyright protection is automatic).
  2. Issuing, renting, communicating or lending copies of the copyright work to the public.
  3. Performing, showing or playing a copyright work in public.
  4. Making an adaptation of a the work or doing any of the acts listed above in relation to an adaptation.
  5. Authorising others to do any of the above.


Section 17(1)Â of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“the Act”) states that “the copying of the work is an act restricted by the copyright in every description of copyright work and references in this Part to copying and copies shall be construed as follows”-

Section 17(2)Â of the Act states “copying in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work means reproducing the work in any material form, including storing it in any medium by electronic means”.

Section 17(3)Â of the Act states “in relation to an artistic work, copying includes the making of a copy in three dimensions of a two-dimensional work and the making of a copy in two dimensions of a three-dimensional work”.

Section 17(4)Â of the Act states “copying in relation to a film or broadcast includes making a photograph of the whole or any substantial part of any image forming part of the film or broadcast”.

Section 17(5)Â of the Act states “copying in relation to the typographical arrangement of a published edition means making a facsimile copy of the arrangement”.

Section 17(6)Â of the Act states “copying in relation to any description of work includes the making of copies which are transient or are incidental to some other use of the work”.

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