Copyright, Designs and Patents Act

Created in 1988

  • The Copyright Patents and Designs Act is a law passed by the UK government in 1988 which was created to prevent the theft of ideas and computer software but also can protect against the unauthorised copying and theft of literary work, films, sound and musical recordings, and broadcasts.
  • An agreement between the company that developed the software and the user must be agreed before the software is installed. This is called the license agreement and covers copyright.
  • As part of this act, some software applications will only work on a computer if a piece of hardware such as a DVD or a CD is inserted into the computer before it can
  • However this act says that copyright in most works lasts until 70 years after the death of its creator. If the creator of the piece f work is not known then the act protects it for 70 years after the work was created or published. Although this is a shorter 50 years for computer software.

Loop Holes in the Act


  • Educational Use:

    In general, copying for educational use is permitted so long as it is performed by the person giving or receiving instruction or by the education establishment in the case of a broadcast
  • Libraries and Archives:

    Librarians may make and supply single copies of an article or of a reasonable proportion of a literary, artistic or musical work to individuals who request them for the purposes of private study or research