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How Digital Technology Impacts Copyright Law

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In this article, we’ll be discussing how recent digital technological advancements impact copyright law…

As digital technology continues to advance, there has been a growing need for reforms in copyright law. This would protect new technological innovations from being obstructed and would mean the UK could better preserve and use copyright material.

To better understand changing interface between copyright law and the digital environment, and the current challenges facing copyright infringement solicitors, let’s take at what’s changed.

What is Copyright Law?

Copyright law protects your work and stops others from using it without your permission. In the UK, you get copyright protection automatically and you don’t have to pay a fee.

Copyright protects original works of authorship such as literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work as well as original non-literary written work, such as software, web content and databases.

In essence, these laws exist for the purpose of preventing others from copying the work that you’ve invented, as well as distributing copies or granting access to a third party without your permission.

How Has Digital Technology Changed Copyright?

In recent years, there has been a need to adapt copyright law to cope with the demands of digital technology. Nowadays, it’s a lot easier for people to distribute materials online without being detected. This can make it a lot harder to enforce copyright law.

With recent developments in digital technology such as artificial intelligence, and more people having an online presence than ever before, there has been growing pressure for copyright law to reform.

How Has Copyright Changed?

It’s important to recognise that copyright law has changed over the years. Let’s take a look at some of the current ways in which modern copyright law has adjusted to suit the growing demands of digital technology.

Online Infringement

Online infringement is when someone takes your work and posts it online without your consent. Examples of this could include the use of the same or similar marks in advertisements or promotions and the sales of counterfeit or infringing products through direct sites or counterfeit sites. The increase in online infringement in recent years demonstrates how copying work on the web is a very easy thing to do.

Artificial Intelligence

In recent years, developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have raised new questions about the purpose and scope of copyright law. This changing digital landscape has meant new reforms have been put in place so that copyright law now protects some forms of AI.

Unlike other countries, the UK protects computer-generated works which do not have a human creator. This reform in legislation demonstrates how AI is becoming more and more prevalent when dealing with copyright protection.

AI can be relevant to copyright in a number of ways including:

  • Machine learning systems learning from data can be protected by copyright or other rights.
  • The software code in which an AI system is written will be protected by copyright. This protection enables the creators of AI software to be paid for their work and to control how others can use it.
  • Some AI systems are capable of autonomously generating new works, which may be protected under UK law. Other systems are capable of creating copies of existing protected works. When this is done without permission copyright will be infringed.

Copyright Law in the Digital World

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Recent developments in digital technology have raised new questions surrounding the objective and scalability of copyright law. New reforms in copyright law, have the potential to protect new technological innovations from being obstructed and would mean the UK could better preserve and use copyright material.

In the growing digital landscape, it’s important to understand your rights and be well-rehearsed in copyright law. Naturally, it’s very important that you focus on effective and safe usage of copyright law and keep a close eye on how your creative work is distributed and used.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult an intellectual property lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking advice on copyright law. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Written by Marcus Richards


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