8. Property Rights

The law that regulate the Intellectual Property comprehends: patents for inventions, trade marks, design rights, know-how, copyright and database right.
In this particular case the intellectual property of the works produced by Judy Laing will be retained by herself.

In defence of Judy Laing’s right to publish her works it comes the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 which describes copyright as a property right that covers original literary, dramatic, music or artistic works.
According to Quinn (2015) “If a photograph was taken after the 1988 Act came into force on 31 July 1989, the original copyright belongs to the person who takes the photo; this applies as much to a family snapshot as to a picture taken by a famous photographer. For photos taken before the Act came into force, copyright belongs to the person who commissioned them, so in the case of a wedding photo, for example, it would usually be the couple themselves or one of them. In addition to the copyright issue, privacy rights attach to pictures commissioned for ‘private and domestic purposes’.”
Implications may arise if a magazine or a newspaper aim to use Judy Laing’s pictures. If for example an ordinary person is involved in an important and known news story, a publication could pay relatives or people close to the person involved for the copyright to family snaps, which could lead to a breach of the copyright regulation if they publish them.
In Quinn (2015) it is stated that “The use of photographs is covered by the fair dealing defence when they are used for criticism and review, but not where they are used in reporting current events. If one paper holds the copyright on a particular photograph, others cannot publish it and then use the defence of fair dealing in reporting current events, even if they acknowledge where it came from. It is important to be aware that a newspaper or magazine may hold copyright to photos even if it has not taken or commissioned them.”
It is also clear that in the case of Judy Laing there could be the possibility of transferring copyright. Indeed someone who owns copyright in a work have the possibility to sell all or part of that right to someone else in either assignment or licence. (In our case the Judy Laing could sell those rights to a newspaper or to any other type of publication).
Assignment copyright is the equivalent of selling it. It is also important to state that assignments must be in writing in order to be legally binding.
As for the license Quinn (2015) states that: “A licence is a way of giving someone permission to use the work in a particular way or for a particular length of time. A licence granting exclusive use of material must be in writing to be legally binding (and in fact it is good practice to get any agreement involving copyright in writing).”


Rosalind McInnes (2010). Scots Law for Journalists. 7th ed. United Kingdom: Thomson Reuters (Legal) Limited. 335-345; 451-454.
Frances Quinn (2015). Law for Journalists. 5th ed. United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited. 363-370.