What is Copyright Designs and Patents Act?
This law protects artistic commercial works from being stolen or used without permission. It attaches automatically when the work is put into material form (i.e. written down or recorded electronically).
An idea cannot be covered by this act but specific details pertaining to that idea can be covered. For instance, there are lots of angsty songs made for teenagers where the base idea of the song is to complain about life and say you hate your parents but that basis cannot be copyrighted. Any lyrics to a My Chemical Romance song can, however, be copyrighted.
Patents are a different form of intellectual property that protects inventions. An inventor has to apply to get a patent, and in his or her application they have to explain everything about their invention – how it works, why it’s better than the stuff that was invented before, etc. Then at the end, the inventor makes a list of ‘claims’ describing precisely the invention they want to protect. This stops their idea being exploited for uses they have not authorized.
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Basically the state of intellectual property law is pretty fuzzy right now. The rules aren’t always clear on exactly what people are allowed to own, and how new, unique, and unobvious an idea has to be before someone is allowed to own it, and even if they own it, how different someone else’s idea has to be before it’s considered theft.
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