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Copyright Infringement and how to avoid it

As so many of you know, copyright infringement is widespread. And we often read about the type of conduct that will amount to copyright infringement. So what is copyright infringement?

Put simply, copyright infringement occurs where an original work (in which copyright subsists) is substantially reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner. So what is a substantial part?

What amounts to a substantial part is a matter of quality rather than quantity. In short, if a key or distinct part of an original work is reproduced without permission, than that is likely to be a substantial part.  Despite what you may have heard, changing an original work by 10% (or any other amount) is not a way to avoid copyright infringement.

There are some exceptions to copyright infringement, including:

  • Fair dealing – for example, for the purpose of private study or criticism;
  • Private uses – for example, time shifting for viewing or listening on a once-off basis; and
  • Educational uses – for example, the reproduction of copyright works in the course of education instruction.

If you intend to rely upon any defence to copyright infringement, you should first seek professional advice.

And in case you are wondering, simply attributing a person with authorship of an original work will not provide you with a defence to copyright infringement.

Now, any questions?