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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law (1st edn)

Stavroula Karapapa and Luke McDonagh
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date: 07 December 2023

p. 603. Authorship and ownershiplocked

p. 603. Authorship and ownershiplocked

  • Stavroula KarapapaStavroula KarapapaProfessor of Intellectual Property and Information Law, University of Reading
  •  and Luke McDonaghLuke McDonaghSenior Lecturer in Law, City, University of London


This chapter analyses how the law evaluates authorship of copyright works. It is crucial to distinguish between authorship and ownership of copyright works, as the two do not necessarily coincide. The reason for this is that an author may decide to license or assign the ownership of the work to a third party, such as a publisher, in exchange for money, i.e. royalties. In such case, the author would still be classed as the author of the work, but would no longer own the economic rights to control the ‘restricted acts’. Authorship and ownership of copyright works is even more complicated in the case of works that are authored and owned jointly. The definition of a work of joint authorship is very precise — it must not be possible to identify each author's respective contribution. The rights of joint-owners are set out in s. 173(2) CDPA.

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