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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: 07 December 2023

p. 1255. Authorship and first ownershiplocked

p. 1255. Authorship and first ownershiplocked

  • 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 examines the concept of authorship, as it is understood in copyright law, as well as the first ownership of copyright and the various exceptions to this rule. It begins by discussing the author of a work as defined in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 before elaborating on the task of determining who the author of a work is. Authorship of literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works and of entrepreneurial works is then considered, along with joint authorship. The chapter also looks at exceptions to first ownership, including works created by employees, those governed by Crown copyright or made under the direction or control of Parliament, and commissioned works. Finally, it analyses the issue of harmonization with respect to authorship and the position of employed authors.

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