Copyright is a necessarily evolving area of UK law, particularly so as the digital age, characterised by the availability and shareability of music, films, text, games and more, presents a vast array of challenges to creators, lawmakers, courts and copyright lawyers alike.

Oratto's membership is comprised of many leading specialists in this field, all of whom can provide you with the advice and representation you require, whether it relates to alleged copyright infringement or some other important area of the law.

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is the main instrument of UK copyright law. The act is designed to ensure that the rightful owners of any artistic or commercial work retain control over it.

Copyright can only exist where it relates to a work or product that is objectively original and has been created with a reasonable level of skill, discernment and application.

Ideas themselves cannot be copyrighted. Instead, the idea must be pursued and some kind of work created before it can be considered for copyright. For example, if someone has an idea for a band, book, screenplay or other creative project but does not take definable steps to produce the necessary content, they can have no recourse to a claim for infringement in the event that another party pursues the same or similar idea.

Titles and names cannot be copyrighted, but when made unique or original in combination with certain colours, names, logos or designs, they may be considered for copyright.

Copyright most often belongs to the creator or author. However, where the work is created on behalf of an employer – or is made for a third party under the express terms of a contract – the copyright may belong to someone else.

As such, in the event of a copyright infringement, only the owner of the copyright is entitled to bring about court action.


For most works of art, the length of copyright is 70 years from the end of the year at which its creator dies. For digital work, this period is limited to 50 years.

Those owning copyright have certain economic rights, including the following:

  • The right to distribute
  • The right to make copies
  • The right to lend or to rent
  • The right to broadcast or perform

The copyright owner's moral rights include the following:

  • To be identified as the author
  • To object to certain treatments/interpretations of their work
  • To not be falsely attributed to another work, however similar

Help from Oratto's copywright solicitors

Oratto's member copyright solicitors can help you confidently negotiate the many challenging and evolving areas of UK and international copyright law.

Whether you want help drafting an agreement, need to clarify or define licensing issues, require urgent enforcement action or need assistance with some other related matter, you can find the copyright law solicitor who is right for you by browsing our member profiles or trying our Match service.