Book Review: Copinger & Skone James on Copyright

Copinger & Skone on Copyright is now in its eighteenth edition, authored this time by Gwilym Harbottle; Nicholas Caddick QC; Professor Uma Suthersanen, together with a list of consulting and specialist editors. 


The hardback version of this edition comes in two volumes. Volume One consists of 29 chapters on copyright, organised into 8 parts. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to copyright and the scope of copyright as covered within the book, along with an overview of the sources of law of copyright in the UK. 

Part 1 consists of 9 chapters. Chapter 2 covers the nature and history of copyright in the UK and impact of EU law. It also considers the challenges and of technology and the details the impact of Brexit on UK copyright law, suggesting that perhaps following Brexit the UK will be in a better position to lead in promoting a global approach to copyright. Chapter 3 addresses the requirements for copyright subsistence including all the usual suspects: subject matter, fixation, originality plus consideration of protection of foreign works and works denied protection. Chapter 4 is all about authorship of copyright works, chapter 5 covers ownership and licenses, and chapter 6 looks at duration. Chapter 7 and 8 look at primary and secondary infringement, followed by chapter 9 setting out the permitted acts. The last chapter in this part mentions crown copyright and parliamentary rights. 

Part 2 covers moral rights in chapter 11; delving into attribution, the right to object to derogatory treatment, false attribution, privacy, duration, transmission, and remedies for infringement. Part 3 covers performers rights in chapter 12; including history, international perspectives, subsistence, rights, ownership, transmission, consent, licensing, duration, infringement, copyright tribunal and remedies. Part 4 covers design rights, unregistered community right and the protection of works of industrial application in chapter 13. Part 5 includes 7 chapters on miscellaneous rights; semiconductor topographies, circumvention of protection measures, fraudulent reception of transmission, publication right, database right, public lending right and artist’s resale right.

Part 6 covers remedies in 2 chapters; chapter 21 details civil remedies and chapter 22 discusses criminal remedies and customs seizures. Part 7 turns to look at international treaties in chapter 23, EU law in chapter 24 and the protection of copyright works abroad in chapter 25. 

Part 8 presents 4 chapters on exploitation and control of rights. Chapter 26 focuses on exploitation in particular industries; publishing, newspaper, music, film, broadcasting, theatre, advertising and computer software. Each section contextualises the application of copyright as well as discussing key issues and challenges, including the impact of the COVID pandemic, such as the inclusion of pandemic-specific contract clauses. Chapter 27 covers collecting societies and chapter 28 covers control of the exercise of copyright, such as through compulsory licences, by the copyright tribunal, competition law and restraint of trade. The last chapter covers taxation of copyright.

Image: Stephen Hanafin
Volume Two provides copies of statutory instruments including the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, related materials such as the Copyright Tribunal Rules, Copyright Conventions and EU Directives. Perhaps some readers still appreciate the printed versions of such materials, but for this Kat, I would be content with being signposted to the online version – particularly if it meant that the reduced page numbers of the book would result in the book being printed on paper that wasn’t translucent. Whilst I understand that the size of the book might require such thin pages, it does make the accessibility of the physical book a challenge for any readers such as myself whose eyes are distracted by the words on the page underneath. An ebook version might be a better option in that case. Whilst in general I much prefer physical books, the searchability of books of this size and nature are personally more accessible for me. 

The previous edition being published in 2016 and therefore this addition provides updated information and analysis on copyright law that has been developed over the past 5 years, including concepts of originality, reproduction, communication to the public, and copyright exceptions. For those with a previous edition wondering what else the new edition might offer, significant updates include:

Chapter 2 has been re-written to present a compact and comprehensive overview of international, EU and UK copyright law, including the impact of Brexit

Chapter 3 includes recent EU case law on subsistence of copyright and its implications for the UK: Levola Hengelo, Cofemel, Brompton, Funke Medien

Chapter 4 considers the implications of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Martin v Kogan as to what constitutes authorship and joint-authorship.

In Chapter 7 the section on communication to the public now reflects guidance given by the UK High Court in Warner Music v TuneIn and in Wheat v Google. It also covers recent EU case law on infringement of copyright in sound recordings (Pelham) and cases on the distribution right.

Chapter 9 discusses recent EU case law on permitted acts (Pelham, Spiegel Online, Funke Medien) and features a full rewrite and update of temporary copying permitted act.

Chapter 13 has been updated to reflect not only the significant effects of Brexit but also the current uncertainties and difficulties with regard to the UK approach to design law generally arising from the CJEU’s rulings in Cofemel and Brompton. The chapter has also been expanded to include comprehensive coverage of registered designs.

Chapter 18 updates the position in the light of the decision of the High Court in 77m v Ordnance Survey as well as the changes in the position regarding qualification for the sui generis light after Brexit.

Chapter 22 has been expanded to include the offence of copying a registered design.

Chapter 24 covers updates on EU law including the Directive on the Digital Single Market

In Chapter 26 the industry sections have been comprehensively updated.
This comprehensive text will be of use to those practising and researching in the field of copyright, including rights in performances, designs, moral rights and a host of additional related rights. 

Published by: Sweet & Maxwell

Format: Hardback £520

ISBN: 9780414078444

Also available as an ebook. 

Book Review: Copinger & Skone James on Copyright Book Review: Copinger & Skone James on Copyright Reviewed by Hayleigh Bosher on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 Rating: 5

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