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Helpful Resource Links for UK copyright infringement claims and lawsuits


Matthew Chan:
Most of us here on ELI are Americans. Hence, our primary focus is to assist extortion letter victims in the U.S. and sometimes Canada. However, I have occasionally consulted with extortion letter victims in Australia and the U.K. also.

For U.K. victims, I have located some good information sources to get educated and read. The general extortion strategy of trying to scare and intimidate people to pay up holds true in the U.K. just as it does in the U.S. 

As with most English-based courts, the legal process is expensive, time-consuming, and a tedious process. Neither the plaintiff or defendant enjoy the process and most of the time, representing yourself "pro se" is too arduous for the average person.

The best way for any victim to protect themselves is to get educated and not believe the propaganda that is being espoused by people trying to squeeze money out of you.

I have had to force myself and get somewhat educated in the U.K. legal process because I provide paid phone and email support to many people.

This link is a start point for information on how a UK copyright infringement lawsuit might be filed in Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. The IPEC multi track is suitable for claims with a value above £10,000 but not exceeding £500,000.

For the legally-ambitious who really want to get into the legal procedures of how a UK copyright infringement lawsuit is to be filed (and defended):

Here is the "small claims" version filing a UK copyright infringement lawsuit:

Here is information on how someone takes a case to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.

I really like the UK Citizens Advice page for UK copyright infringement claims.

It is a good starting point to get educated on how to defend yourself against unreasonable and extortionate copyright claims.

Thanks Matthew,
As ever this is a fantastic resource for those of us in the UK!

A Link to the relevant legislation may be of use. In the UK Copyright is regulated with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The act is available to view on the Government website at

A typical case involving an infringing  photograph on a website would involve the following sections

Section 16 The acts restricted by copyright in a work
Section 17 Infringement of copyright by copying
Section 20 Infringement by communication to the public

If no credit to the copyright holder was given there might be a claim under Section 77 Right to be identified as author.

If the image was mutilated there might be a claim under  Section 80 Right to object to derogatory treatment of work

If the infringement is commercial in nature then it may involve a criminal offence under section 107.

If the copyright holders name or meta data was removed from the image there might be a claim under Section 296ZG Removal or alteration of Electronic rights management information.

Many claims involve amounts for "flagrancy" pursuant to section 97(2).

Damages for copyright infringement throughout the EU is governed by the Directive  2004/48/EC of the  European Parliament and of the council  of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The EU directive takes presidence over the UK Act.

I vital resource for anyone involved in Litigation in the UK is the British and Irish Legal Information Institute
This is an online data base of court judgements. While everyone has an opinion on the rights and wrongs of any copyright infringement claim, the only opinion that matters at all is the opinion of the court. Unfortunately the bailii does not contain IPEC small claims judgements which is a shame as most UK copyright infringement cases are handled under the IPEC small claims track. If you google specific cases, sometimes you can find small claims judgements floating round the net at other websites.


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