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4 Copyright Assets That Your Company Owns And Can Protect


Are you protecting all of your company’s copyright assets?

Copyright protection ensures you have protected your work and that no one else can use it without your permission.  Copyright vests in works of artistic craftsmanship and lasts until seventy years after the author’s death. Or in the case of typographical works of art, 25 years from the end of the year in which the edition was first published.

There are practical interpretations of copyright law that cause valuable intellectual property assets to vest in your business. They cost nothing, you don’t have to take any formal steps to register them and they can be used as a powerful means to protect your business.

Here are four areas of copyright that your company already owns and which you need to take steps to protect:

1. Databases and Client Information

Every business accumulates valuable client information. This may be compiled in a highly organised structure or in a more informal manner.

Of all the assets that your company would wish to protect, a database of client information will come close to the top and its loss is almost impossible to insure against.

The law regards list of clients and their details – such as names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or purchasing history as typographical works of art protected by Copyright.

Cost-free and practical steps can be used to protect databases, contact us to discuss in consultation today.

If misuse of a client list by a former employee, hacker or competitor is detected – then a court can be invited to make an urgent order to stop misuse of the information and deliver up all infringing copies.

The law of databases may provide additional protection.

2. Computer Programs

The IT sector forms an ever growing part of the economy. In our experience although many IT projects fail, disputes in the IT sector more frequently occur in relation to the misuse or misappropriation of computer code.

Original code is regarded as a work of artistic craftsmanship.

If you are a business employing IT specialists to write bespoke coding make sure you own it so it can’t be sold to your competitors.

Click here to read about our specialist guidance to our IT clients and how we can help protect the value in your IT business.

3. Internal Communications

Internal communications may explain the strategy of your business, its key targets, or perhaps its weaknesses or mistakes. Internal communications can contain valuable training or methods of work. They might include draft tenders or other valuable pricing information such as the cost of purchase of component products.

The law recognises original copyright in your business’s internal communications in just the same way as it would in a new book by a famous author.

People who seek to take or publish your internal communications probably mean your business no good. You can stop people bringing harm to your business and from misusing your internal communications using the law of copyright. Where necessary, court orders may be requested on an urgent basis.

The law of confidentiality may provide additional protection in specific circumstances.

4. Websites, Brochures, Catalogues

We are all at risk of the information we publish on the web being copied. Importers, distributors and agents in particular go to great lengths to explain the attributes and functionality of their supplier’s products.

Anyone who takes the time and trouble or goes to the expense of having written original script or make original images and photographs, creates an original artistic work protected by copyright. Competitors who copy in an effort to come to market with less expense and in a shorter time may be making a big mistake.

The owner of artistic work copied by a competitor in a website or a brochure or in a trade catalogue can compel its removal. Many industrial products are still sold through catalogues and brochures. Causing a competitor to withdraw from a catalogue can cause a season-long loss of sales, not just damage to the functionality of a website and embarrassment.

For any enquiries or more information on how to protect your business copyright, please send an email to patrick.tedstone@orj.co.uk or call 01785 223440.