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Automatic right

There is no official registration system for copyright in the United Kingdom (UK) and most other parts of the world. There are no forms to fill in and no fees to pay to get copyright protection.

So long as you have created and fixed, for example in writing, an original work that qualifies for copyright protection, that is it falls into one of the categories of material protected by copyright, you will have copyright protection without having to do anything to establish this. It is a requirement of various international conventions on copyright that copyright should be automatic with no need to register.

To help protect your copyright work, it is advisable to mark it with the © symbol, the name of the copyright owner and the year in which the work was created.  Although this is not essential, it will let others know when the term of protection started and it should then be possible to calculate whether it has ended or not.  It will also indicate who the owner was at that time in case it is then necessary to approach them should you need to ask permission to use the work.

Additionally, a creator could send himself or herself a copy by special delivery post (which gives a clear date stamp on the envelope), leaving the envelope unopened on its return (ensuring you also know what is inside each envelope in case you do this more than once). Alternatively you could lodge your work with a bank or solicitor.  It is important to note, that this does not prove that a work is original or created by you. But it may be useful to be able to show the court that the work was in your possession at a particular date.