This chapter explains the law on authorship and copyright ownership. The creator of a work is, in principle, its author. There can be more than one creator for a work and therefore also more than one author. Joint authorship arises when more than one creator is involved in the creation of the work and the contribution of each creator can no longer be separated out in the final result. Copyright is a property right and, as such, needs an owner. The general principle is that the author will be the first owner of the copyright in his or her work.
13. Authorship and ownership of copyright
3. Authorship and ownership
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.
5. Authorship and First Ownership
L. Bently, B. Sherman, D. Gangjee, and P. Johnson
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, including difficulties raised by 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.