Copyright: What is meant by "Primary Infringement"

S.16 (1) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) provides that the owner of the copyright in a work has in accordance with the provisions of chapter II of the Act to do the following acts in the United Kingdom:


to copy the work (s.17);


to issue copies of the work to the public (s.18);


to rent or lend the work to the public (s.18A);


to perform, show or play the work in public (s.19);


to communicate the work to the public (s. 20);


to make an adaptation of the work (s.21) or


do any of the above in relation to an adaptation (s. 21);

Those acts are known collectively as “acts restricted by the copyright” or “restricted acts” and Copyright in a work is infringed by doing or authorizing another to do, any of those acts without the licence of the copyright owner.

References to “doing” an act restricted by the copyright include doing the act in relation to the work as a whole or to any substantial part of the work whether directly or indirectly. It is immaterial whether an intervening act is itself an infringement of copyright.

See also What is meant by Secondary Infirngement” and Case Note: Creation Records Ltd. v News Group 


About Jane Lambert

I am a barrister specializing in intellectual property, technology, media and entertainment and competition law. I specialize in helping SME (small and medium enterprises) protect and exploit their investment in brands, design, technology and the arts. SME require intellectual property (legal protection for their intellectual assets) at least as much as big business but their limited means restrict the way they can use it. Looking after such clients wisely requires skills and knowledge which have taken me years to learn.
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