Literary, dramatic and musical works are protected by copyright under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
What is a literary work?
The term “literary work” covers work, other than a dramatic or musical work, which is written, spoken or sung. The following types of work fall within the definition of literary work:
compilations (for example, dictionaries, directories, maps, road books and lists, although an individual map will be protected as an artistic work);
computer programs and preparatory designs for computer programmes (including source code although it is not currently clear whether programming languages are protected);
notes (for example headnotes to law reports).
For a literary work to benefit from copyright protection it must be expressed in print or writing or recorded in some other manner, for example on a tape recording.
There must also have been sufficient skill and labour in creating the work so as to make it original and useful. The Courts have previously held that a list of tours for travellers was protected by copyright since it would be of value to the travelling public.
For more information on:
- What is a dramatic work?
- What is a musical work?