Copyright, Designs and Patents Act

The CDP ACT 1988

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

In 1988, Parliament passed an act to protect intellectual property rights. It is called the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act and is the current UK copyright law. Computer systems have been heavily involved with this Act because they make it possible for people to easily access copyright material - both legally and illegally.

What is Intellectual Property?

Material that has taken someone a lot of effort and creative talent to produce, is called 'Intellectual Property'.

Copyright,Designs and Patents Act 1988

Legitamacy

There are perfectly legitimate music sites that sell tracks and pay the required royalty fees to the owners of the music for every track sold - and there are dubious sites that do not - they pay nothing to the original artist - is this fair?

Typical breaches of the CDP Act include:

  • Using unlicensed software
  • Downloading music from sites that have no right to provide them
  • Streaming music from sites that have no right to provide them
  • Copying someone else's work and passing it off as your own (plagiarism)

Limitations imposed by copyright

When you buy software, for example, copyright law forbids you from:


  • giving a copy to a friend
  • making a copy and then selling it
  • using the software on a network (unless the license allows it)
  • renting the software without the permission of the copyright holder

Prevention of software piracy

Software companies take many steps to stop software piracy:


  • 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.
  • Certain pieces of software require a unique license key to be entered before the installation will continue.
  • Some applications or programs will only run if the media (CD/DVD) is in the drive.
  • Some applications or programs will only run if a special piece of hardware called a dongle is plugged into the back of the computer.

Duration of copyrights

  1. For literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works

    70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last remaining author of the work dies, or the work is made available to the public, by authorised performance, broadcast, exhibition, etc.

    The Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992 extended the rules covering literary works to include computer programs.

  2. Sound Recordings and broadcasts

    50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last remaining author of the work dies, or the work is made available to the public, by authorised release, performance, broadcast, etc.

  3. Films

    70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last principal director, author or composer dies, or the work is made available to the public, by authorised performance, broadcast, exhibition, etc.

  4. Typographical arrangement of published editions

    25 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first published.