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Copyright infringement is when someone uses the copyright-protected work of someone else without permission. To be more specific, the copyright in a work is considered to be infringed by adapting, reproducing, and performing various other acts, without the permission of the copyright owner, relevant to a substantial part. It is stated in Chapter II, Section 16 of the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988 that there has to be evidence that a “substantial part” of the work concerned was used for an infringement to have occurred. In general, if something is protected under copyright, you cannot legally make it available to the public in any digital, format, or otherwise, without permission of the person holding the copyright.
Nevertheless, unauthorized reproduction is allowed under exceptions from copyright infringement in certain circumstances. Fair dealing, in the UK, consists of six primary uses of copyright material, namely for private study and exploration; for the purpose of examination or instruction, or quotation, critique or review; for the reporting of current news events; for the purpose of parody, caricature or pastiche; and for text and data mining.
The Copyright Licensing Agency Limited (CLA) is the licensing body as defined by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. There are some potential costs of UK copyright infringement listed by the CLA. For example, if your company infringes copyrighted work, it faces the risk of investigation by Copywatch- the compliance arm of CLA, and legal action by the copyright owner(s) as well. Furthermore, infringement is regarded as a civil offense and any damages would be awarded at the discretion of the court on the basis of case by case. Additional damages would also be awarded with regards to the flagrancy of such infringement as the justice of the case may require.