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Protecting your business - Copyright

Copyright is a right that arises in favour of the author of an original work and comes into existence the moment the work is created.

Copyright exists in relation to things that are written down (like words on a page, a design, sketch or music score) as opposed to a fragrance, sound or idea.  Copyright thus exists in relation to this very article.

In the fashion world, the obvious use of copyright can be used to protect sketches and drawings and prints of garments and designs.

Generally speaking, the author of an original work (i.e. a sketch of a garment) will own the copyright in the sketch exclusively and will be known as the ‘first owner of copyright’ under the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.

If the author in question creates the sketch as part of their employment however, the first owner will be the employer.  Where a sketch is created by a freelancer, he/she be the owner of the copyright in the work, again, unless they have assigned the copyright to their customer who has commissioned the design.

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