Copyright is a property right given to the creator of original work. The range of original work in which copyright subsists is quite substantial. These rights are awarded automatically and how long they last is dependent on the type of work protected. In the UK literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works have copyright lasting 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author of the work dies. Copyright can also extend to other countries through an international agreement such as the Berne Convention.
The Court of Appeal recently handed down its judgement that was brought by BT and others against the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in which the claimants alleged that certain provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2010 were unlawful and in breach of the European Electronic Commerce Directive.
The Digital Economy Act places Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) under a number of obligations, including to notify a user if they have downloaded copyright protected content, and if the owner of that content has made a complaint; And to provide a copyright owner with a list of users subscribed to the ISP who are infringing copyright protected content belonging to that owner(for example by illegally downloading free music and other files from unauthorised file sharing websites) . However, this is made possible only where there is a code of practice between the copyright owner and the ISP. At present such a code is not yet in force, being recently published as a draft. More