Normally the individual or collective who authored the work will exclusively own the work and is referred to as the ‘first owner of copyright’ under the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. However, if a work is produced as part of employment then the first owner will normally be the company that is the employer of the individual who created the work.
Freelance or commissioned work will usually belong to the author of the work, unless there is an agreement to the contrary, (i.e. in a contract for service).
Just like any other asset, copyright may be transferred or sold by the copyright owner to another party.
Rights cannot be claimed for any part of a work which is a copy taken from a previous work. For example, in a piece of music featuring samples from a previous work, the copyright of the samples would still remain with the original author.
Only the owner, or his exclusive licensee can bring proceedings in the courts.
Posted in: UK Copyright Law