Thursday, 17 June 2010

Tip of the Day: Avoiding copyright infringement

A very small and rather obvious point that came up recently - but it's sometimes the small and obvious ones that are most easily overlooked. Suppose you heve asked someone to create something for you that will be protected by copyright. Ideally, you'll have taken an assignment of the copyright, but there might be many reasons why that isn't possible - and one might be that the project is still in its infancy.

If you need to bring a new programmer/photographer/composer/writer/whatever in later to finish the project, don't fall victim to the temptation to show them what the previous person had done. Keep that completely out of sight. Go right back to the basics, whatever it was that gave you the idea in the first place. Then there can be no suggestion - no serious suggestion - that the second person infringed the copyright of the first.

There might be arguments that you did actually have the right to use the first person's work, but you shouldn't rely on them. They are arguments you will have eventually to present before one of Her Majesty's judges, and they make for a very critical audience. moreover, they aren't an audience that pays you so they can enjoy the show: they require you to pay for the privilege of appearing before them, and you'll have to employ a very expensive supporting cast too.

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