Copyright: What is meant by "the Author"

The author of a work is the person who creates it (s. 9 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“the CDPA”)). In the case of a sound recording the author means the producer, in the case of a film the producer and principal director, in the case of a broadcast the person making the broadcast (unless the broadcast is in fact a relay and immediate re-transmission of another broadcast in which case it is the person making that other broadcast). In the case of the typographical arrangement of a published edition the publisher. Before the 31 Oct 2003 when the law was changed by The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003, the author of a cable broadcast was the person providing the cable programme service in which the programme is included.

Computer Generated Works
The author of a computer generated artistic, dramatic, literary or musical work is the person who undertakes the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work (see s. 9 (3)).

Joint Authorship
S. 10 (1) provides that “work of joint authorship” is a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of each author is not distinct from that of the other author or authors. A new s.10 (1A) inserted by reg. 18 (2) of The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 1996 (SI 1996 No 2967) provides that a film is automatically treated as a work of joint authorship unless the producer and principal director are one and the same person. A broadcast is treated as a work of joint authorship where more than one person is to taken as making the broadcast.

Unknown Authorship
S. 9 (4) provides that a work is of “unknown authorship” if the identity of the author is unknown or, in the case of a work of joint authorship, if the identity of none of the authors is known. The identity of an author shall be regarded as unknown if it is not possible for a person to ascertain his identity by reasonable inquiry. However, should the author’s identity once be known the authorship of the work shall not subsequently be regarded as unknown.


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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