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Copyright infringement

Copyright owners generally have the right to authorise or prohibit any of the following things in relation to their works:

  • copying the work in any way. For example, photocopying, reproducing a printed page by handwriting, typing or scanning into a computer, or making a copy of recorded music.
  • issuing copies of the work to the public
  • renting or lending copies of the work to the public. However, some lending of copyright works falls within the Public Lending Right Scheme External Link, and this lending does not infringe copyright
  • performing, showing or playing the work in public. Obvious examples are performing plays and music, playing sound recordings and showing films or videos in public. Letting a broadcast be seen or heard in public also involves performance of music and other copyright material contained in the broadcast
  • broadcasting the work or other communication to the public by electronic transmission. This includes putting copyright material on the internet or using it in an on demand service where members of the public choose the time that the work is sent to them
  • making an adaptation of the work, such as by translating a literary or dramatic work, transcribing a musical work and converting a computer program into a different computer language or code.

Copyright is infringed when any of the above acts are done without permission, whether directly or indirectly and whether the whole or a substantial part of a work is used, unless what is done falls within the scope of exceptions to copyright permitting certain minor uses.

Copyright is essentially a private right so decisions about how to enforce your right, that is what to do when your copyright work is used without your permission, are generally for you to take.

Deliberate infringement of copyright on a commercial scale may be a criminal offence. Please see further information on What is IP crime? and the additional remedies which may be available.

See Also