Thursday, 4 February 2010

Employee authors' right to be identified

I have been considering section 77 et seq of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 - something that we all have to do from time to time, I suppose. I am writing an agreement for a client who provides services (some of which will give rise to the creation of copyright works) through a single-member company. The company, simply by employing him, will be first owner of copyright (s11(2)) and paternity right will be subject to section 79(3), the short version of which is "no paternity right where s11(2) applies." At least, that's the summary version I usually work with, and it usually does the job, but actually you need to go deeper than that.

In fact, s79(3) says paternity right does not apply to anything done by or with the authority of the copyright owner where s11(2) applies. I am tempted when reviewing agreements of this sort to delete the waiver of moral rights which is usually present, on the basis that it is redundant: but on reflection the fact is that there are situations where it is useful, not only from the point of view of the employee but also for the employer. It means that there might be an additional stick with which to beat unauthoriesed users of the copyright work.

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