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Copyright notices

What is a copyright notice?

A copyright notice is a concise note published by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) providing basic copyright guidance.

What is the copyright notice service?

The copyright notice service allows anyone to ask the IPO to provide basic guidance on an area of copyright law where there is particular confusion or misunderstanding.

It is therefore intended to make a significant impact over and above the general background to copyright law which the IPO already provides through its website e.g. through FAQs.

A copyright notice is intended to provide an authoritative, impartial and reliable point of reference.

What does the copyright notice service not do?

The copyright notice service does not intend to deal with specific disputes which are primarily of interest only to the parties concerned.

It does not make new law and it does not issue a direction to a judicial making body. It is not a substitute for a legal case and it is not the same as a statutory piece of legislation.

Who is it aimed for?

The service is aimed at those who do not have access to expert legal advice such as SMEs. It is designed to address issues which are of broad concern.

The copyright system can be inconsistent and confusing, particularly in relation to the application of new technologies, and this leads to imbalances of nformation between rights holders (such as publishers) and users (such as teachers and researchers).

By providing clear and reliable information on what is permissible under copyright law, the notices will, for example, help schools and other educational institutions make better judgments about lawful uses of copyright works.

How to apply for a notice?

There are no special requirements, but you will need to complete the online form. The issue at stake should be outlined as clearly as possible with relevant background.

While we prefer you submit requests using the online form, we will accept requests in writing. If you wish to write to us, please send any requests to the below address. Unfortunately we won’t be able to confirm receipt of your request if you send your request by post.

Copyright Notices
Intellectual Property Office
4 Abbey Orchard St

There is no fee to submit a request.

For any general enquiries about copyright notices, please email us.

What happens then?

The IPO has discretion over when to respond to a request for a notice and it is unlikely that it will be able to provide a notice in response to every request. Further details of when the IPO will issue a notice, in particular the prioritisation criteria it will apply in deciding which issues merit priority, are set out below.

If the IPO decides to issue a notice, it will inform the applicant as soon as possible and if the IPO decides not to do so, it will pass the request to the IPO Information Centre to be dealt with by them in the normal way.

The IPO will periodically review notices to ensure they remain up to date both in terms of the law and developments in technology. notices will be clearly marked with the date of issue and of any update. Notices will reflect the law as at the date of their issue or, where applicable, the latest update.

Copyright notices will be published on our website.

Other benefits

Businesses and individuals will be able to tell the Government what is unclear, and the Government will look to give a better picture of how copyright law works in practice.

How will we ensure the service meets our aims?

The IPO will monitor the service and report accordingly.