Copyright Law – Awarding authors for the creation of their original work

12 July 2018

Copyright law is attracting large amounts of attention. Thanks to the recent, highly publicised case whereby a US Federal Appeal Court upheld the Judgment that singer Robin Thicke and rapper Pharrell Williams pay the estate of Marvin Gaye $7.4 million due to copyright infringement (The New York Times), it has since been reported that this is likely to lead to an influx of claims in the UK of similar sort in this lucrative area (Thomson Reuters). The Independent has reported that The Script are now suing James Arthur for his ‘Say you won’t let go’ single by arguing that it has breached copyright of its single “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”; Arthur’s single, which the case claims ‘reignited’ his career and generated £14.8 million in profits.

The Law

Copyright protection is very wide and it is there to protect the author for their creation of their works, specifically on how ideas are expressed, and not necessarily the ideas themselves.

The law that governs copyright in the UK is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Thanks to this Act s1(1)(a) musical works and sound recordings (s1(1)(b) CDPA 1988) fall under copyright and automatic protection is granted by the Act. The Act also protects dances, mimes and work that is written and spoken and therefore can include computer games and databases. This means that where the work is copied without the owner’s consent, a primary act of copyright infringement has occurred. An infringement is a strict liability offence and therefore regardless of intent, simply copying the musical works will be sufficient to satisfy a breach and warrant the grant of a remedy. This includes either compensation or a cut of the profits made.

Whether the work is deemed to have been copied is decided on a case by case basis and is often not so clear. What needs to be shown is that either the whole or a substantial part of the work has been copied (s16(3) CDPA 1988). The test that Judges apply to calculate whether a substantial part has been copies is qualitative, not quantitative. Often, determining whether the work constitutes a copy will depend on whether the most interesting or popular sections of that piece of work have been copied, as shown in a case reported in 2006 whereby Prince Charles sued the Mail on Sunday for quoting extracts from his private journal in their newspaper.

The Impact on the music industry

The purpose of Copyright Law is to reward authors for the creation of their works, allowing them to solely reap the benefits (The British Library). It is therefore a possibility that unless an out of court settlement is reached, James Arthur may be ordered to pay damages to The Script. Interestingly, The Script have hired the same advocate who represented Marvin Gaye’s estate in the Thicke and Williams case. Similarly, in 2016, Ed Sheeran offered $16 million to Matt Cardle for his hit ‘Photograph’, as Cardle had argued that the chorus had been copied from his song ‘Amazing’.

It is a highly lucrative area, where scope for being awarded high amounts of compensation (dependent on profits) is possible. Although the judgment of Thicke has been said to now prevent music creativity, it goes too far in protecting more than just the copy but a song’s ‘style and feel’ and that there are no limits on a claim to copyright (The New York Times); a claim is worth pursuing from the eyes of the owner as similarities may lead to valuable compensation being obtained.

Overall, this is a highly lucrative area as shown in the previous high-profile cases. Since there is no need to prove intent to copy, if profits made on copied work is high, then there is no reason why authors should not bring a claim to compensate for the rewards gained from their original work.

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I can’t praise Lennons Solicitors of Amersham enough, but especially to Ros Nolan and her PA Dianne for the... exceptional work they did in the sale of my house so recently. Ros was always prompt with all her responses, professional and so approachable when it came to any problems. We only completed last Friday and I am so VERY VERY grateful to her because without her hard work and total efficiency it could have been a very different story considering the news of today, and the impact it is having on the house sales market. Her fantastic services were reasonably priced and I would recommend Lennons and Ros to anyone looking for a fantastic local solicitor to help in the sale or purchase of any property. Thank you so much. Kateread more
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Andrew Hutchison
07:29 06 Mar 20
We used Ros at Lennons as our conveyancing solicitor for a house buy. As first time buyers we needed lots of guidance... which Ros happily gave. She was helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. She was on top of everything and kept us informed along the way. I can highly recommend.read more
Pip H
Pip H
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We recently completed on the sale and purchase of our home and Ros Nolan carried out our conveyancing work. For a... number of reasons, the transaction was rather long and protracted, so we were pleased to have Ros as our lawyer and very impressed with her readiness to go the extra mile. She was always easy to contact and ready to talk through any issue that concerned us. This is the second time Ros has acted for us and it felt like having a good friend 'in our corner’ helping to smooth out the problems and bring us to completion. Thankyou Lennons for a job well done!read more
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Todd at Lennon's has been an absolute joy to work with during our property purchase - he's extremely knowledgeable,... helpful and efficient. He dealt with all of our queries in a timely and professional manner. We will absolutely look to Lennon's - and Todd in particular - for any future legal needs.read more
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nadia malik
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We had an amazing experience working with Rezaul. Very honest and upfront. Very keen to help and very prompt with all... responses and any questions we had taking over the lease of a new shop. Thank you for all your help and friendly advice. Would definitely recommend.read more
Cynthia Hassell
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A very pleasant experience with Ros Nolan, nothing was too much trouble for her to explain. Queries answered quickly... and professionally. It made buying and selling a good, trouble free experience with this Company, particularly with Ros Nolan. We would highly recommend them.read more
Gary M
Gary M
19:27 16 Dec 19
I could not have asked for a better conveyancer than Ros Nolan at Lennons to help me through my first house purchase.... From the first abortive purchase through to completion on my new home, Ros has been diligent, helpful, friendly, and highly competent. A massive thank you to both her and Diane for all their hard work.read more
Amy Sansom
Amy Sansom
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Rezaul was brilliant at solving a corporate dispute for us and ensured procedure was followed to the letter. He was... always on hand for a quick phone call if needed and kept us up to date on the matter. Thank youread more
Mike Lennon
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23:01 21 Oct 19
Andrew king from Lennons Solicitors is excellent at what he does. Having conducted research around various firms based... upon expertise and reviews I opted to instruct Lennon's Solicitors. My point of contact was Pauline Barber who took my initial information. I was then referred to Andrew in respect of a sensitive property / probate matter, which was a very stressful situation for my mother. Suffice to say Andrew was personal but professional in his approach, explaining everything in a way you can understand, whilst providing clear options in how to progress matters. He was helpful in resolving any queries and concerns which were raised. This not only helped me tremendously in obtaining the correct information he required but it also made matters stress free and easy for my mother to understand. Pauline assisted in proceedings when Andrew was not available and all messages left received prompt responses by both Pauline and Andrew. Overall Lennon's were selected for their reputation and expertise in the field i required. Suffice to say Lennon's did not fail to deliver and Andrew is a damn good solicitor, who I would recommend 100%.read more
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Scott Hamilton
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Martin Nash
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14:50 01 Oct 19
Ros at Lennons recently acted for me with a house purchase. Excellent service, she kept me well informed throughout,... the process, seemed really knowledgeable and chased things along when necessary. Would highly recommend. Competitive fee for a quality service. Thanks Ros.read more
Susan Harris
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I am very pleased that I instructed Rezaul from Lennons in Amersham to undertake some conveyancing work for me in... relation to my business. Rezaul communicated well and always kept me informed about how the process was going, along the way. He was also very easy to get along with and available to answer any questions. I will certainly use him for anything I may have in his expertise in the future!read more
Katie Hughes-Jones
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We had a great experience with Todd at Lennons. He did everything he could to move things along as quickly and as... efficiently as possible as well as always been available for advice.read more
Dan Farrell
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Efficient, diligent and understanding service from Todd and the team. We really appreciated the advice and accurate... conveyancing service.read more
Adam Gibson
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14:03 05 Aug 19
Ros Nolan was a pleasure to work with on the purchase of our new home. Her expertise and knowledge helped in... maintaining an easy, smooth process. I'd highly recommend Ros' services to any other first time buyers.read more
Heidi Scully
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I had never sold a house before and didn't know quite what to expect. Roz or Diane were always quick to answer the... phone or emails. The whole process ran smoothly and I was always kept informed along the way how things were going. Thank you very much !read more
Kieran Byrne
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I had the pleasure of dealing with Rezaul from Lennons in a couple of recent transactions, both residential and... commercial. I found him to be extremely professional and knowledgeable. He was also tenacious in protecting my interests. Altogether my experience of using Lennons was excellent, I will use them again and recommend them to friends.read more
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11:32 25 Jun 19
Lennons Solicitors were highly recommended by 2 lots of friends and Lennons lived up to our expectations when selling a... house in York via probate and some very technical aspects linked to Land Registry - we live in Bucks - and the whole process was very efficient and economic under Ros Nolan who proved to be a very safe pair of hands. We were fully kept in the picture throughout the process with an outcome we were looking for. We will appoint Lennons for legal services in the future and would recommend Lennons to others as well. Alison an Bal Chauhanread more
Sarah Quane
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11:54 19 Jun 19
We were recommended to use the services of Ros Nolan when selling our house in Chesham. Really grateful that we took... the advice as compared to some of the solictors in the chain, Ros was always readily available to speak to us, replied to emails promptly and gave us really good advice throughout the process. So much so, we have instructed her to act for a purchase on our sons behalf and again, Ros is readily available and gives our son, as a first time buyer, lots of time and reassures him whenever he has a question or query. Top marks for communication which when both buying and selling, is imperative. Highly Recommendread more
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Rezaul dealt with the conveyancing of our residential property. As first time buyers, we were kept informed throughout... the process and exchange and completion were almost seamless. Many thanks for a smooth process, highly recommended.read more
Valerie Gollar
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Early New Business
Early New Business
09:41 22 May 19
Rezaul Haque did a great job for my family, purchasing the Freehold of their property. Rezaul acted in an efficient,... timely fashion, with a very professional manner at all stages of the transactionread more
Dick Tillett
Dick Tillett
14:24 25 Apr 19
Rezaul Haque has been a great help in what has been a difficult time. He has been very quick at returning phone calls... and emails. He handled my commercial property lease efficiently. I would not hesitate to work with him again and I would happily recommend Lennons.read more
Giles Leather
Giles Leather
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Victor Surana
Victor Surana
20:36 14 Mar 19
Professional service by first class solicitors. Ros Nolan did a fabulous job on sealing the deal for our first... property. She is a thorough professional who exceeded our expectations. It was a very assuring experience as Ros always kept us updated on the progress and proactively completed the paperwork well within the timelines. Overall, thanks to Ros, our expectations were exceeded. Will not hesitate to recommend her for all your legal works.read more
Rich Perfumerie
Rich Perfumerie
13:11 27 Feb 19
Rezaul did a fantastic job with our commercial lease. Wouldn’t hesitate to use him and Lennons again Highly... recommendedread more
Innervision 1
Innervision 1
10:29 11 Feb 19
Rezaul Haque from Lennons dealt with the lease on our new office. He was efficient, thorough and most professional... despite some trying circumstances. He made my job that much easier. Thank you.read more
Matt Crisp
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17:21 29 Jan 19
Rezaul did a fantastic job on our corporate share holders agreements, great guy, great work, Many Thanks!
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