Registration advice / contact

Answers for many common questions

Names and titles

Can I protect a title for a book, film, play or song?

Copyright does not protect individual names, titles or phrases in their own right.

Such items may easily be duplicated by coincidence, and are therefore not considered unique or substantial enough to be awarded copyright protection in their own right.

We therefore cannot accept registrations that only consist of a title.

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Can I protect the name of a company, brand, music group, etc.?

Copyright does not protect individual names, titles or phrases in their own right.

We therefore cannot accept registrations that only consist of the company, organisation or brand name.

A trading name may however be subject to a trademark and also protected under common law against passing off.

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Can I protect an internet domain name?

Internet domain names are not subject to copyright and should be registered via your ISP or an independent domain registration service.

You can however register a website. The content of the website: written content, images or artwork, scripts and code, etc. will be subject to copyright and eligible to register.

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Ideas and concepts

How can I protect an idea or business concept?

Copyright does not protect ideas or concepts in their own right. Copyright applies to work that is fixed in a tangible form, (i.e. written documents, sound recordings, etc.). It does not directly apply to the idea of something.

You cannot ‘copyright an idea’, but copyright will apply to a recorded work that realises your ideas, e.g. a script, written proposal, etc. will be subject to copyright and can be registered.

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Using the work of others

Who owns the copyright to...?

By default, the first owner of copyright in a work will either be the author that crated the work, or their employer. Copyright can also be sold, inherited, or given away by the current owner just like any other asset, so copyright ownership can change over time.

Sometimes tracing a copyright owner can take some investigation, but the best place to start is with whoever is publishing the work now. If the work is no longer being published, then you should start by contacting the last known publisher.

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How do I get permission to use someone else work?

Before you can legally use someone else's work , you will normally need the permission of the copyright owner.

In most cases, the best route to follow is to contact the current publisher, (or last known publisher), of the work in question. The publisher will certainly know who to deal with, and if they cannot arrange permission themselves, they will know who you need to speak to.

There may also be licensing schemes in place, or the author may be a member of a collection agency that can assist you.

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Registration questions

When should I register?

We recommend that registration is carried out before you make the work available to other that you may perhaps not trust, i.e. before you publish your work online, or send it to publishers, agents, etc.

If the work changes after registration we offer facility to submit a new version of the work at a later date if needed.

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Is my work protected internationally?

Yes, copyright protection is an automatic international right of the author, and copyright will protect your work at a worldwide level. The rules dealing with this are governed by international conventions, principally the Berne Convention, which ensures that countries respect the rights of foreign authors.

Our service is intended to provide proof of your work at a worldwide level, regardless of where you are, or where the infringement occurs.

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How do I register works with joint/group authorship?

It is perfectly normal to register as a collective. and we will accept either the name of collective (e.g. a group name), and/or a list of the individuals on the application form, either is perfectly valid, (if there is not enough space on the form, simply enclose a list of names on a separate sheet).

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I use a pseudonym, how should I fill in the form?

There is no problem registering if you use a pseudonym or pen name.

For clarity, we recommend that when you complete the 'Copyright owner' section of the application form you state both your real name and the pseudonym.

You should use one of the following formats:

  • Real Name (pseudonym: 'Pseudonym'), or
  • Pseudonym (real name: Real Name)

For example:

  • Reg Dwight (pseudonym: 'Elton John'), or
  • Elton John (real name: Reg Dwight)
Can I register a music album with several tracks as one work?

Yes. It is quite normally to group a number of related items together as a single work when registering (and therefore pay just one registration fee for the album as a whole).

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Can I register a group of related items as one work?

Yes. It is quite normal to register a number of related items together as a single work when registering.

The items should share the same copyright ownership and you will need to enter a single title for the collection as a whole as the 'title of work' field on the form.

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How do I register software/source code?

For works such as software and web applications the source code is primarily where copyright exists and should be included with your application.

Online: If you are submitting via the on-line registration facility, we recommend that you use an archiver such as WinZip, WinRar/Rar, 7-Zip, StuffIt, or Tar to first convert the source files into a single archive. This will ensure that the directory structure of the files is preserved, and also compresses your files which may reduce the upload time and cost of registering.

Postal: If you are submitting by postal application, simply include the source files (and any accompanying items) on a CD with your application form.

What if my work changes after registration?

Once the initial registration has been made, you will be able to use the update facility to add new versions of the work when needed as your work changes over time.

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Help with online registration

Problems uploading files

If you are experiencing problems uploading files, there are a number of things to check that could be preventing your files from getting to us.

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Contact an advisor

If you cannot find the answer to your question above, please get in touch via our contact form.

Please understand that our advisors can only respond to questions regarding registration and our services. We do not provide advice on licensing or legal issues.

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