Copyright Disputes

Out of Court

In the United Kingdom, certain types of disputes between parties relating to copyright may be heard before the Copyright Tribunal which is a division of the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office.

The Copyright Tribunal has the authority to:

Hear cases from parties that have been unreasonably refused a licence by a collecting society.

Rule whether the terms that have been offered by a collecting society are unreasonable.

Settle disputes regarding royalties payable by TV listing companies to broadcasters.

In Ireland, disputes in relation to copyright licensing schemes are heard before the Controller of the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland. A Register of Copyright licensing bodies is maintained by the Controller.


Before a Court

A copyright owner of a work has the exclusive right to:

Copy the work

Publish the work

Make an adaptation of the work

To broadcast the work.

If any of the above acts are carried out by a third party without authorisation, the copyright owner has the right to pursue a claim for Copyright Infringement.

Infringement can take place where both the whole of the work is copied or a substantial part.

Infringement can also be Direct and Indirect. For example if a photograph is taken of a painting, the copyright in the painting will be indirectly infringed.

Primary Infringement – this takes place where a person commits an infringing act or authorises others to do so.

Secondary Infringement – this takes place when persons commercially deal with infringing copies or articles or premises used to commit the infringement.