Basics of copyright

Copyright is an automatic right under UK law, and can be claimed on any original creative work in any form.

It comprises two separate rights: your economic rights to benefit from your own artistic endeavours; and your moral rights that protect your professional reputation as an artist.

The position with regard to the protection of artists’ copyright radically changed with the introduction of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

The articles in this section focus on:

  • The basics of copyright
  • Economic rights
  • The duration of copyright
  • The lack of copyright on an idea
  • Originality
  • Privacy rights regarding photography
  • Publications on copyright law
This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material.
The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.