Answered By: Digital Library Services Team
Last Updated: Feb 03, 2017     Views: 178

A work is entitled to copyright protection if:

  • It is of a type protected by copyright under the Act.
  • It is recorded in some form - eg in writing, by a sound recording, on a computer disk, or in a printed form.
  • The work meets the requisite degree of originality. A work is original if adequate skill, labour and judgment is expended on creating it.

What this means is that if an individual writes down an original piece of work, for example, this work is protected by copyright law.

In order for something to attract copyright protection, the work must fall within a category of copyright set out in the CDPA  (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988).

Some examples are shown below.

Type of original recorded works Explanation Examples*
Literary Any works (other than a dramatic or musical work) that is written, spoken or sung provided that it is in writing or some other form. A table, computer programme, magazines, novels, poems, lyrics, reports, marketing plans, business correspondence, databases.
Dramatic A work of action capable of performance. Dance, mime, script of play, recorded choreographed dance routine.
Musical A work comprising music intended to be sung, spoken or performed but exclusive of any words or actions. It covers "performing editions" including ornamentation and directions of out of copyright works where sufficient added creativity is demonstrated. It may also include silence.
Artistic An artistic work has a defined scope - further examples are set out below. Graphics, photographs, sculptures, a work of architecture, artistic craftsmanship.
Films, sound recordings and broadcasts    
Typographical arrangements (the appearance or layout or published editions)    

*some exceptions may apply in particular circumstances.

Further examples of artistic works include: paintings, drawings, diagrams, maps, charts, plans, engravings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts or similar. The definition of a "photograph" excludes stills from a film but includes slides, negatives and microfilm. Architectural works (including buildings of any kind), and works of artistic craftsmanship, such as jewellery or pottery, are also included. Copyright subsists in all of the above, regardless of artistic quality or craftsmanship.