Ownership of Entrepreneurial Copyrights

Copyright arises automatically under English law, with ownership vesting in the creator of the work. Entrepreneurial copyrights were introduced to protect those who invested in the creation of a work, whereas “classic” copyright has traditionally protected the author of a work.

A producer is deemed to have ownership over a sound recording, whereas the producer and principal director of a film are deemed to enjoy joint ownership. The person who makes a broadcast enjoys ownership of the entrepreneurial copyright associated with it and a publisher owns the same in relation to a typographical arrangement.

The duration of entrepreneurial copyrights is not the same as for classic copyrights. Entrepreneurial copyright in relation to a sound recording lasts for 50 years from creation or, if later, the date of release. The copyright in a film lasts for 70 years from the death of the last principal director, author of the screenplay, author of the dialogue or composer of specially written music. Broadcast rights expire 50 years after the first broadcast and typographical arrangement copyrights last for 25 years from the end of the year the work was published.

Films are the only type of work which have moral rights and this vests in the director. There is no requirement of originality or for a minimum amount of effort to be expended before copyright arises, although rules are in place for each right.

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