This paper will include the explanation of the copyrights and other relevant acts, how these acts can be applied in the digital age and cases, which will be used to analyse the importance of it.


In British legal parlance, ”copyright” is the term used to describe the area of intellectual property law that regulates the creation and use made of range of cultural goods such as books, songs, films and computer programs. (Bently, Sherman p.,31). The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, is the current UK copyright law.

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It gives the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the right to control the ways in which their material may be used. The rights cover: Broadcast and public performance, copying, adapting, issuing, renting and lending copies to the public (UK, Copyright Law, no date). For the original literary or musical works the copyright lasts for seventy years from the end of the calendar year after the death of the last surviving writer in the UK and Europe, it is protected by the CDPA 1988 gives certain economic and moral rights (Harrison, 2014).

For the sound recordings and broadcasts, seventy years from the end of the calendar year and in America it is ninety-five years in which the last remaining author of the work dies or the work is made available to the public, by authorised release, performance, broadcast (UK, Copyright Law, no date). In 1998 was created The Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, the aim of this act is to protect the rights of both copyright owners and consumers in the digital age (Rouse, no date). The copyright, especially in the digital age became more powerful and it helps musicians and artists to receive royalties and to protect piece of work, which has been created, however, the digital age has brought much more problems and one of the main ones is piracy, since the internet came into people lives, piracy deprives artists of money and it is against copyright law, also if anyone is using a music in the video without permission and especially in social media where it becomes publicly open as well, this material could become copyright infringement under DMCA 1998 the example how this act has been applied is ‘Lenz v Universal Music Group’ (2007) Woman has uploaded video on YouTube, where toddler is dancing and on the background playing a song by Prince, Universal Music was asked YouTube to remove the video, according to DMCA 1998, however, according to Fair use which says that If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement (Stim, no date). Lenz has sued Universal, and the trial of this video became one of the most famous and absurd ever in the copyright cases, the final decision was not made yet, but Court thinks that Universal Group should accept this situation because of the Fair Use, and it is nothing wrong with it, on the other hand, it could promote the artist.

Nevertheless copyright in the digital age applies everywhere, for example Facebook advertising using a song in the video. Publishing company protects this song and the owner of the song receives royalties. Videos which are shown in the internet, are protected as well by the copyright, since people realized that its possible to watch some films for free in 2010 in the UK appeared Digital Economy Act 2010, which is help to prevent copyright infringements from the websites, and secretary of the state can block websites, which are infringement, also if anyone would download copyright files for free, too many times, would be sent few letters as a warning, and if it would continued, the copyright owners can sue the infringer. The example how being used copyright infringement in a digital world is ‘Newzbin 2’ the website was blocked because the website function was to download and upload torrent files for free, and after this Hollywood film studious sued it as a copyright infringement.

Also, if anyone will decide to copy a song they need to ask permission for using it, or it would become a plagiarism, for example Ed Sheeran vs. Marvin Gaye (Charma, 2019). This case says that Ed Sheeran has copied one of the Marvin Gaye song, and the judge thinks that these two songs are having very common rhythm, and quite similar, so Sheeran has lost over $100m, this is how copyright works, no one can use a song which is already protected and have unique rhythm, melody and lyrics.

Another example how copyright can be infringed in the music digital world is ‘Dramatico Entertainment Limited v British Sky Broadcasting’ (2012) in this case applied copyright for sound recordings CDPA 1988, the website has blocked as it was illegally downloaded music, and in the UK it is against CDPA1988 what means copyright infringement. One of the most famous example in the digital music industry is ‘A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc.‘ (2001) Napster became first digital music sharing system for free, and many record companies sued Napster as copyright infringement, which is under the CDPA 1988. This means that it is illegal to download or make music publicly free without owner permission. Another famous story is how Metallica sued Napster, because album was uploaded on Napster, before the official realise, and Metallica band lost a lot of money because of it, copyright infringement was made and it has sued Napster, this case became one of the most famous in the digital music industry, and after all proceedings Napster went bankrupt (Patel, 2015).

It is obvious that not only in the entertainment industry artists are fighting with piracy, but also many companies who have trade marks and own unique brands and products, are fighting against distribution forgery products from other suppliers. The example how European Court of Justice prohibits selling forgery products is ‘L’Oreal v eBay’ L’Oreal sued Ebay, because Ebay were selling L’Oreal’s products without permission and were using its products in the advertising for fake products, since the L’Oreal has trade mark. A trademark can be anything that allows consumers to distinguish your goods or services from those of another (Citma, no date). Its products are unique and has trademark, its products are legally protected and no one can use it without permission as it against the law.

Since the digital world became more powerful, people were seeking for free content, once file is freely available, to delete it would be very difficult. Napster is an example which is has brought a power of digital music sharing for free, and people are still searching for websites where music is for free, but since there are acts such a DMCA 1998, CDPA 1988 and DEA 2010, it wont happen. Also measures have been taken, such a apps like Spotify, ITunes, and for films Netflix, so do not have to go and buy CD’s, everything is available online for a small price. However it is necessary to remember about Fair Use and sometimes enable to use music in Lenz situation. Illegal downloading, sharing music for free, forge brands which are protected by trade mark it is illegal and also it could bring a bad consequences if start to abusing of this.


According to the article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights Act 1998 – Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers (Legislation, no date). Fair dealing for criticism, review or quotation is allowed for any type of copyright work (Intellectual Property Office, 2014). Lauren has a freedom to comment out and criticize, without permission according to Fair Dealing and HRA 1998. However it could seemed like a tort of Defamation act 2013, Defamation occurs when there is publication to a third party of words or matters containing an untrue imputation against the reputation of individuals, companies or firms which serve to undermine such reputation in the eyes of right thinking members of society generally, by exposing the victim to hatred, contempt or ridicule (Evans, 2014). The advice would be to make sure that there is no any personal hatred and ridicule, or consequences afterwards can bring a claim because of the defamation. The example of defamation case is the Melania Trump v Daily Mail (Bowcott, 2017). Daily Mail wrote that wife of the president of the United States previously worked as an escort, Melania sued Daily Mail and won, as it was defamation, and after this accident Daily Mail apologised and paid $3m.

UK Copyright Law, implementing the EU  HYPERLINK ” o “Directive 2001/29/EC” t “_blank” Copyright Directive, provides an exception to copyright ‘for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche (Erickson, no date). One of the kings of parodies Weird Al Yankovic, in previous had an issue with 2 Live Crew, the band wanted to sue Yankovic, however parodist avoid lawsuitst as this parody was protected under Fair Use and Copyright Directive (Sanders, 2009). The advice would be first of all to ask for permission, as it the best way to avoid lawsuits, if not will need to prove that this parody is under a Fair Use. Moral and Economic Rights are helping to protect reputation, reproducing, copying, making adaptation, this means that artists can ask for the royalties if their song will be played anywhere in this situation is website where Lauren will be upload the video of them.


‘Rihanna v Topshop’ (2013) In this case Rihanna sued Tophop, because of the selling images with Rihanna’s face without permission. However the permission was taken from the photographer who had taken this picture. In this case happened Misrepresentation this is a false statement of material fact made by one party, which affects the other party’s decision in agreeing to a contract (Kenton, 2018). In this case passing off helped to protect against this misrepresentation, there are few states, which are helping to establish passing off such a misrepresentation causes damage to the claimant, leads public to believe that goods offered by that claimant and damaging of claimant reputation (Edgeworth, 2015). Many suppliers are using images of famous people to build a trust between them and to make believe that this person made products. The advice would be to ask for permission to using images of these people, and photographers as well or it could bring a lot of bad consequences and Lauren can be sued according to laws like Defamation, Passing off, and Trade Mark.

A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises (WIPO, no date). Since celebrities have been working on different products, mostly have had register the name as a trademark. This trademark helps them to protect the name and the goods which are they selling to consumers. Rihanna has trademarked the name (Sharkley, 2014). The risk which could happen if Lauren will call the e-shop “Rihanna and CO” is very high, first of all Rihanna can sue the e-shop under Passing Off and Misrepresentation, or even worse it could become trade mark infringement because this name is already protected by trade mark. Lauren could try to register this company name as the trademark, however the name must be unique, so probably name would be rejected.

It is very often when celebrities are registering their names as trademark, it helps to avoid problems, to prove their goods, or to sue anyone who is trying to earn on their names. Unfortunately at the moment it is very often when someone is trying to copy brands, copyright infringement, misrepresentation just to earn more money. However the law is always on the side which is tried everything to protect its idea. For Lauren of course main advice is to ask for permissions, as it against the law to sell T-Shirts, how it happened with Rihanna and Topshop, it would be better to create a new unique company name, and register it as a trademark to protect it.

Word Count -2006


Citma.org.uk. (2019). What is a trade mark?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Apr. 2019].

Copyright.gov. (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Apr. 2019].

Edgeworth, M. (2015). “Your Face or Mine” – The Protection of ‘Image Rights’ in the UK and Ireland – Leman Solicitors. [online] Leman Solicitors. Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2019].

Erickson, K. (2019). Parody & Pastiche – CopyrightUser. [online] CopyrightUser. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2019].

Kenton, W. (2018). Misrepresentation. [online] Investopedia. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2019].

Patel, N. (2015). Metallica sued Napster 15 years ago today — tech and media have been fighting ever since. [online] The Verge. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2019].

Sanders, M. (2019). 2 Live Crew, Weird Al Yankovic, and the Supreme Court on Parody. [online] legalzoom.com. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2019].

Sharkey, L. (2014). Rihanna trademarks her name for use on a clothing empire. [online] The Independent. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2019].

Stim, R. (2019). What Is Fair Use?. [online] Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center. Available at: [Accessed 17 Apr. 2019].

The Irish Times. (2018). Ed Sheeran sued for $100m over alleged plagiarism. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Apr. 2019].

Uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com. (2019). Music copyright: a quick guide. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2019].

Wipo.int. (2019). Trademarks. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2019].

Youtube.com. (2019). Copyright | Fair use – YouTube. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Apr. 2019].

Robyn Rihanna Fenty v Arcadia Group Brands Ltd (T/A Topshop) [2013] EWHC 2310 (Ch) 

Stephanie LENZ, Plaintiff, v. UNIVERSAL MUSIC CORP., Universal Music Publishing, Inc., and Universal Music Publishing Group, Defendants.[2008] C 07-3783 JF.

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