Copyright Infringement in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Designer Guild Ltd v Russell Williams (Textiles) Ltd (trading as Washington DC)
    • House of Lords
    • 23 November 2000

    The purpose of the examination is not to see whether the overall appearance of the two designs is similar, but to judge whether the particular similarities relied on are sufficiently close, numerous or extensive to be more likely to be the result of copying than of coincidence. It is at this stage that similarities may be disregarded because they are commonplace, unoriginal, or consist of general ideas.

  • C.B.S. Songs Ltd v Amstrad Consumer Electronics Plc
    • House of Lords
    • 12 May 1988

    My Lords, joint infringers are two or more persons who act in concert with one another pursuant to a common design in the infringement. Amstrad sold a machine and the purchaser or the operator of the machine decided the purpose for which the machine should from time to time be used. The machine was capable of being used for lawful or unlawful purposes.

    My Lords, I accept that a defendant who procures a breach of copyright is liable jointly and severally with the infringer for the damages suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the infringement. The defendant is a joint infringer; he intends and procures and shares a common design that infringement shall take place. A defendant may procure an infringement by inducement, incitement or persuasion.

  • Ladbroke (Football) Ltd v William Hill (Football) Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 21 January 1964

    And if he does copy, the question whether he has copied a substantial part depends much more on the quality than on the quantity of what he has taken. But, in my view, that is only a short cut, and the more correct approach is first to determine whether the plaintiff's work as a whole is "original" and protected by copyright, and then to enquire whether the part taken by the defendant is substantial.

    Whether a part is substantial must be decided by its quality rather than its quantity. The reproduction of a part which by itself has no originality will not normally be a substantial part of the copyright and therefore will not be protected. For that which would not attract copyright except by reason of its collocation will, when robbed of that collocation, not be a substantial part of the copyright and therefore the courts will not hold its reproduction to be an infringement.

  • Hyde Park Residence Ltd v Yelland
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 10 February 2000

    I have pointed out earlier in this judgment that the basis of the defence of public interest in a breach of confidence action cannot be the same as the basis of such defence to an action for infringement of copyright. In an action for breach of confidence the foundation of the action can fall away if that is required in the public interest, but that can never happen in a copyright action.

  • Sawkins v Hyperion Records Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 19 May 2005

    The important point is that copyright can be used to prevent copying of a substantial part of the relevant form of expression, but it does not prevent use of the information, thoughts or emotions expressed in the copyright work. It does not prevent another person from coincidentally creating a similar work by his own independent efforts. It is not an intellectual property monopoly in the same sense as a patent or a registered design.

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  • Intellectual Property Act 2014
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2014
  • Digital Economy Act 2010
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2010
    ... ... Office of Communications; to make provision about the online infringement of copyright and about penalties for infringement of copyright and ... ...
  • Copyright Act 1911
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1911
    ... ... and architectural works of art shall not be deemed to be publication ... of such works ... Infringement of copyright. 2 Infringement of copyright ... (1) Copyright in a work shall be deemed to be infringed ... by any person who, without the consent ... ...
  • Copyright Act 1956
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1956
    ... ... any other country to which this section extends, if to his ... knowledge the making of that article constituted an infringement ... of that copyright, or would have constituted such an infringement ... if the article had been made in the place into which it is ... so imported ... ...
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Early warning of risks of copyright infringement in digital library based on extension theory
    • No. 34-2, April 2016
    • The Electronic Library
    • 250-264
    Purpose: – The purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential risks of copyright infringement in digital library based on the extension theory. Design/methodology/approach: – At first, the ana...
  • Computer Programs and Copyright: More Exceptions to Infringement
    • No. 56-4, July 1993
    • The Modern Law Review
  • Copyright in a networked world: ethics and infringement
    • No. 22-1, March 2004
    • Library Hi Tech
    • 106-110
    The statutes themselves are not the only basis for deciding whether an intellectual property rights infringement has occurred. Ethical judgments can also influence judicial rulings. This column loo...
  • New on the net
    • No. 16-6, June 1998
    • The Electronic Library
    • 410-411
    Cyberliability: generic term coined in the late 1990s for various types of legal liability arising from business use of the Internet and e‐mail including cyber‐libel, copyright infringement, breach...
    ... ... busi-ness use of the Internet and e-mail including cyber-libel, copyright infringement, breach of confidence, negligent virus transmission, ... ...
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Law Firm Commentaries
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