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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law (5th edn)

Lionel Bently, Brad Sherman, Dev Gangjee, and Phillip Johnson
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date: 01 October 2023

p. 583. Subject matterlocked

p. 583. Subject matterlocked

  • L. Bently, L. BentlyHerchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property, University of Cambridge
  • B. Sherman, B. ShermanProfessor of Law, University of Queensland
  • D. GangjeeD. GangjeeAssociate Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Oxford
  •  and P. JohnsonP. JohnsonProfessor of Commercial Law, Cardiff University


This chapter is concerned with the subject matter, or types of creation, protected by copyright law as stipulated by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Eight categories of work are examined: literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, films, sound recordings, broadcasts, and published editions (or typographical works). The chapter considers the definitions of these categories of work in the case law and through the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice. It also discusses three important issues. First, that legal categories do not necessarily correspond to the objects usually associated with copyright law. Second, that all types of subject matter that are protected by copyright are referred to as ‘works’. The third issue, and the most problematic, is whether the list of works must be treated as an exhaustive list.

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