For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Time to spare? Want to understand copyright a bit better? This may just be for you

Authorship? This illustration
is a good example of artwork
that has come adrift from its
author on the internet. Can
anyone identify the author?
As a great believer in spreading the word, this Kat considers that -- whatever you are doing in the field of creative endeavour -- you will make better decisions if you are better informed.  If you are a creator of an original work, it's useful to know if there are any legal strings attached to it or if anyone can use it for any purpose they want.  If you are creating that work for someone else, what could be more useful than to know if any legal rights in it belong to you or to the person you've created it for, and whether, even if it's yours by right, your client or customer can use it too.  If you're in business as a publisher, broadcaster, film producer or internet service provider, you want to know what risks you're taking when you seek to make copies of someone else's work, even if they tell you that you can, and you need to know what to do if, even though you are simply communicating a work to the general public or subscribers, you are accused of copying, transmitting or hosting allegedly infringing material.   And if you are in the business of citing, analysing, criticising or adapting the works of others, it's important to know where to draw the line and to understand what happens if you trespass on not just the legal rights of the copyright but also the feelings and the reputation of the author.

You may be thinking at this point, "What on earth is the IPKat bothering to tell us? Surely this is all banal, obvious stuff, which every lawyer and sensible layman already knows!"  If that is your view, why not take a look at the debris of some of the litigated copyright infringement and ownership disputes that have littered the courts over the past few years.  If you do, you will find ample evidence that litigants and/or their commercial and/or legal advisers (i) didn't know how copyright affected their businesses, (ii) did know but were wilfully blind to it, or (iii) took the trouble to find out what the legal position was only after the event, when it was too late to avoid trouble.

Kings College London: very pretty, but students
can also admire it at a distance ...
In the vast majority of instances in which a business depends on or exploits copyright-protected material, there is no way to be one hundred percent safe from the risk of being at one end or the other of a copyright infringement action. But the risk can be minimised by anyone who takes the trouble to gain an adequate degree of familiarity with the rules of the game.  This is where the King's College, London, distance learning programme for copyright comes in.  It's a rigorous eight-month programme, taught to a high standard by a remarkably strong team of specialist copyright educators and practitioners drawn from the disparate legal cultures of the United States, the European Union and the contrasting common law and civil law national jurisdictions of key EU Member States.  Led by Katfriend Professor Tanya Aplin, this team not only provides materials for the various course modules but will assess three substantial compulsory written assignments. Candidates also have the opportunity to attend three weekend residential seminars, which is probable advisable if they want to thrive in the three-hour written examination which they are obliged to take in May 2014.

So if you have some spare time between October and May, fancy a chance to improve your copyright skills and even collect another qualification for your CV or for your personal satisfaction, this course may just be for you.

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The Postgraduate Diploma/Masters in UK, EU and US Copyright Law 2013-2014 is brought to your doorstep by a bevy of copyright scholars from King's College, London.  This course commences on 1 October 2013. Further details of the course, and registration, are accessible here.

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