Mark your work as copyright protected

In the UK you don’t have to register your creative work or pay a fee to protect it with copyright. Your work is protected by law the minute you create it.

Using the copyright symbol

However, it’s useful to mark your work with the copyright symbol (©), your name and the year of first publication. Not only will this remind people that the work is protected and they need to contact you if they’re using your work in a way that breaches copyright, it will also give them a date from which they know the copyright period begins.

Marking your work 

It is strongly recommended that you mark your work with a steganographic identifier (a digital watermark). For digital works, you should also embed metadata to help identify the work as yours.

Using Creative Barcode you can create a QR code based digital time-stamp which includes your legal undertaking that the items you apply a barcode to are original works.

Proving you had your work on a certain date

You can record your work’s existence with a solicitor. This doesn’t prove that you created the work at any given time. Nor does it prove the work is original. But it can help prove that you had the work in your possession on the date in question, if any disputes arise in the future.

It’s a good idea, if possible, to keep copies of work in progress, so that you can show how you developed your work and when, if you ever need to.

Registering your work

There are organisations that offer to register your creative work for you for a fee. As with sending yourself a copy of your work in the post, registering your work only proves that your work existed on a certain date – not that you are the original creator. So you should consider the benefits being offered very carefully.

You can also submit your work to a relevant registry, so that your work and its associated copyright information can be found by interested parties.

Find out more

  • Information about copyright infringement
  • Settling disputes with the IPO Mediation Service