Understanding UK Copyright Laws for Marketers


Kerry Owston

Principles of Online and Offline Marketing Unit 312 2019

Copyright laws are designed to protect the creators of content from unauthorised use of their work, such as their written content, their images, music or video files, etc.

This legislation covers what content I have a right to use in my role as a marketer. There are different types of licensing available, for instance.

As a marketer in the UK, it is important to understand how copyright laws work and how they affect your business. Whether you’re using content created by others, creating your own content, or using images and videos, understanding copyright law is essential. Let's take a look at the basics of copyright law in the UK. 

What Is Copyright Law? 

Copyright law protects original works from being used without permission from the creator. It covers all types of creative works, including books, music, films, paintings, photographs, and other creative works. In the UK, copyright laws are established by the 1988 Copyright Act and subsequent amendments to this act. This act allows creators to have exclusive rights over their work for a certain period of time (usually 70 years).  

The Different Types of Copyright 

Under UK law there are three main types of copyright: Economic Rights (ER), Moral Rights (MR) and Neighbouring Rights (NR). ER gives creators control over how their work is used commercially; MR ensures that creators are attributed as authors and that their work is not altered without permission; NR grants performers rights over their work when it is broadcast or performed live.  

 - Economic Rights: Gives creators control over how their work is used commercially. 

 - Moral Rights: Ensures that creators are attributed as authors and that their work is not altered without permission. 

 - Neighbouring Rights: Grants performer's rights over their work when it is broadcast or performed live. 

How To Use Copyrighted Content Legally? 

If you want to use someone else’s copyrighted material you need to get permission from them first before you can use it. This can either be done through an agreement with the creator or through a licensing agreement with a third-party licensing service such as Getty Images or Shutterstock. Once you have acquired the necessary licenses for your project then you can legally use any copyrighted materials included in your project with no worries about infringing on any copyrights laws in the UK.  

Copyright Infringement 

It’s illegal to copy someone else’s creative work without their permission—this is known as “copyright infringement” and carries both civil and criminal penalties. In most cases, an individual who has copied another person’s work without permission can be sued for damages by the original creator. In addition to this, criminal sanctions may apply if an individual deliberately infringes on someone else’s copyright with malicious intent. 


Understanding copyright law in the UK is essential for marketers operating within this legal framework. By understanding economic rights (ER), moral rights (MR) and neighbouring rights (NR) marketers can ensure they are using copyrighted materials legally while protecting themselves from potential legal action stemming from infringement on these laws by third parties or competitors. Additionally, when seeking out content created by others it’s important to secure licenses via agreements with creatives or third-party services so that your company can remain compliant with UK copyright laws while still enjoying all of its creative benefits!



© 2024 Kerry Owston All code MIT license. All rights reserved.