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Online proofreading and editing course (level 4)Buy this course

An accredited proofreading course for individuals and businesses100% money back guarantee

Proofreading course: Practical assignments | Unlimited tutor support  | Recognised qualification

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Course summary

Learn the editorial skills you need to proofread and edit documents on paper and on screen

Proofreading and editing course overview

Proofreading course student reading a book

See course subjects | See course reviews | News and student success stories

Our proofreading and editing course will equip you with the editorial skills you need to become a qualified proofreader and copy editor. This online proofreading course will show you how to correct printed documents and webpages, and make them readable and legally compliant.

Many leading corporations including British Gas, Lloyds Bank, Virgin Holidays, Royal Mail and American Association for Cancer Research use this practical proofreading course to train their writers. And many individuals testify that it is effective and great value for money.

Successful proofreading course graduate Tom Pritchard, who secured regular proofreading work whilst studying the course, told us he thought his tutors were “clear and supportive”. Read his review

This comprehensive online course is ideal for:

  • Beginners.
  • Proofreaders and copy editors who want a recognised qualification.
  • People who want to start a freelance business.
  • Staff training and development.
  • Website and blog owners who need to check their own content.
  • Writers who need to produce error-free copy.

We have a proven track record in helping our proofreading and editing learners find work, set up as successful freelancers and learn new skills to use in the workplace. See some examples below, and you can read lots more success stories, on our proofreading and editing news feed

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Save 40% on this course in our Spring sale

You can save £197.80 on our proofreading and editing course until 31/03/19 – 11pm.

This course is completely flexible, which means you can take advantage of the sale price and begin learning when you choose – even if it’s not until later in the year.

Discount code: SPRING40 | Offer ends: 31/03/19 – 11pm

Buy this course

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There is an unprecedented demand for skilled proofreaders and copy editors.

Each year, companies and organisations produce millions of documents and webpages that contain errors and inaccuracies. This affects their reputations.

They need qualified proofreaders and copy editors to work on:

  • Reports, letters, and business documents.
  • Webpages.
  • Books.
  • Commercial copy and brochures.
  • Newspapers and magazines.

Our proofreading course covers all these areas and others. See course subjects

You will study in our Online Learning Area, which is accessible from a computer or a mobile app. This means the course is flexible, and gives you the chance to tackle practical, real-world proofreading and editing tasks at home, at work or on the go.

You will also benefit from unlimited tutor support every step of the way, including personalised feedback on every assignment.

Successful proofreading course graduate Peter Fullagar told us “The tutor support makes the course outstanding. Excellent feedback given in a timely manner. The course content went beyond what I was expecting.” Read his review

As a proofreader and copy editor, you could be:

  • Raising the quality of your organisation’s content.
  • Working in a specialised area, such as legal or academic publishing.
  • Running a freelance business.

If you have a keen eye for detail, becoming a proofreader and copy editor is a great way to earn good money.

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Proofreading course subjects

Prooofreading course assignment

This vocational course covers every aspect of proofreading and editing. Each lesson includes a practical assignment, based on real-world proofreading and editing.

Every assignment is personally marked and graded by your tutor, so you’ll receive expert feedback on your progress.

Our comprehensive proofreading and editing course will teach you how to:

  • Proofread and copy edit documents, either in print or onscreen.
  • Apply style guides and BSI proofreading symbols.
  • Make written content easier to read.
  • Set up a freelance business and find paid work.

You can join the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) as an entry level member.

See course subjects Take our proofreading challenge

Proofreading course accreditation and quality

We comply with the very highest external standards. We are:

Each organisation has its own standards, code of practice and complaints procedure, so you can enrol with complete confidence.

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Proofreading course qualifications

Our proofreading and editing course has been independently endorsed under the ABC Awards and Certa Awards Quality Licence Scheme, which is regulated by Ofqual. So, when you finish, you will receive the ABC Awards and Certa Awards level 4 diploma in proofreading and editing course, and a learner unit summary. This lists the subjects you have studied.

The ABC Awards and Certa Awards diploma guarantees that you have been assessed at level 4 standards, and are competent to practise. ABC Awards and Certa Awards are leading national awarding bodies that are both regulated by Ofqual.

In addition, you will receive the fully accredited CMP diploma in proofreading and editing, which is recognised in the UK and beyond. It proves you are a qualified proofreader and copy editor.

These awards will equip you to apply for proofreading and editing jobs, learn new skills to use at work or find freelance work.

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Proofreading course tutors

We have two tutors on our proofreading and editing course. Rachel Finnegan and Julian Brouwer are both professional proofreaders and copy editors.

They will provide you with personal feedback on every assignment, answer your questions and give you expert careers guidance, so you get the very best out of the course.

Proofreading course tutor 1: Rachel Finnegan

Freelance editor | proofreader

Rachel is a member of the Association of Freelance Editors, Proofreaders and Indexers of Ireland (AFEPI). She is often praised by our proofreading course learners, for her friendly, approachable and encouraging manner.

She runs her own proofreading and editing business, Irish Academic Editing. Her skills include proofreading, copy editing, substantive editing, editorial training, and academic writing.

She was an academic administrator for three years and a lecturer in arts and humanities for 20 years; and is the author of six academic books (five published and one currently with a publisher) and numerous journal articles in the area of classics and the history of 18th-century travel and collecting.

Find out more

Proofreading course tutor 2: Julian BrouwerProofreading course tutor, Julian Brouwer

Proofreader | freelance journalist

Julian Brouwer worked as a proofreader for a group of newspapers and a host of other London-based organisations. So, he is used to finding errors that even eagle-eyed subeditors miss.

He still works as a proofreader, and runs a successful news agency Manhattan News, which supplies US-based news and features to national papers in the UK. He used to have his own column in the Daily Express.

He is often praised by our proofreading course learners, for his good-humoured and encouraging manner.

Find out more

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Proofreading course payment options

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This proofreading course costs £494.50 including VAT. This is all you pay. There are no hidden charges, and we have a range of payment methods, so you can purchase your course wherever you live.

You can either pay the fee in full, or with four monthly instalments of £123.62 including VAT.

What happens when I enrol on the proofreading course?

There are no set enrolment dates. You can begin studying this proofreading course when you want to.

Once you have completed your enrolment form and paid your fee, you will receive a login to our Online Learning Area.

There, you will find your learning materials and other resources. You can start studying when you want to.

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Proofreading course: Knowledge base

Proofreading course subjects

This comprehensive proofreading course covers every aspect of proofreading and copy editing. Each lesson includes a practical assignment which is based on the real world of proofreading. All proofreading course assignments are personally marked and graded by your tutor, so you’ll be receiving expert feedback at each stage of the course.

Lesson 01: The basics

  • What the proofreader does.
  • The proofreader’s personal qualities.
  • Proofreading terminology.
  • The publishing process.

Lesson 02: Applying style

  • What a style guide is used for.
  • How to use a style guide.
  • Apply style to a range of copy.

Lesson 03: Spelling and grammar

  • Where to find reliable spelling and grammar facilities.
  • Spotting and correcting spelling and grammar errors.

Lesson 04: Proofreading on paper

  • Proofreading on paper symbols.
  • Proofreading methods and techniques.
  • Marking up copy clearly and accurately.

Lesson 05: Proofreading onscreen

  • Onscreen proofreading symbols.
  • Methods and techniques for onscreen proofreading.
  • Marking up copy clearly and accurately.

Lesson 06: Copy-editing basics

  • What a copy editor does.
  • Levels of editing.
  • The client’s brief.
  • Editing with the reader in mind.

Lesson 07: Copy editing – use of language

  • Learn summarising techniques.
  • Edit for fluent, plain and simple copy.
  • Edit to remove inappropriate material.
  • Edit copy for multicultural audiences.

Lesson 08: Checking accuracy and facts

  • Analyse words and phrases for accurate meaning.
  • Identify and correct factual errors.

Lesson 09: An introduction to academic editing

  • Edit front and back matter such as footnotes, title pages, contents pages, appendices, references and indexes.

Lesson 10: Legal checks

  • Explain the basics of key publishing laws: copyright, defamation, data protection, privacy and contempt of court.
  • Apply publishing laws to a range of exercises.

Lesson 11: Finding work

  • How to find proofreading and editing work.
  • How to build your own business.

On successful completion of this proofreading course, you’ll be sent your qualification. Scroll to the ‘qualifications’ section to find out more.

Proofreading Course: Copy editing

 

Our proofreading course will equip you with the editorial skills you need to become a qualified proofreader and copy editor. This online course will show you how to correct printed documents and webpages, and make them readable and legally compliant.

Many leading corporations including British Gas, Lloyds Bank, Virgin Holidays, Royal Mail and American Association for Cancer Research have used this practical proofreading and editing course to train their writers. And many individuals testify that it is effective and great value for money.

This comprehensive online course is ideal for:

  • Beginners.
  • Proofreaders and copy editors who want a recognised qualification.
  • People who want to start a freelance business.
  • Staff training and development.
  • Website and blog owners who need to check their own content.
  • Writers who need to produce error-free copy.

We have a proven track record in helping our proofreading and editing learners find work, set up as successful freelancers and learn new skills to use in the workplace.

Each year, companies and organisations produce millions of documents and webpages that contain errors and inaccuracies. This affects their reputations.

They need qualified proofreaders and copy editors to work on:

  • Reports, letters, and business documents.
  • Webpages.
  • Books.
  • Commercial copy and brochures.
  • Newspapers and magazines.

Our online proofreading and editing course covers all these areas and others.

You will study in our Online Learning Area, which is accessible from a computer or a mobile app. This means the course is flexible, and gives you the chance to tackle practical, real-world proofreading and editing tasks at home, at work or on the go.

You will also benefit from unlimited tutor support every step of the way, including personalised feedback on every assignment.

See our proofreading course

Proofreading course graduate works for international news site

 

CMP proofreading and editing course graduate, Robyn Robyn Hunter: CMP's editorial assistant and proofreaderHunter, has been taken on as a copy editor by a large international news website.

Robyn is doing regular work for ArmedPolitics, a Swiss-based website that provides news and in-depth briefings from places facing armed conflict and political violence.

One of her first assignments was editing an article written by Steve Shaw, one of CMP’s online journalism course students!

See her other work

Robyn, who graduated from our online proofreading course recently, has already been put forward for other work by Wenzel, one of ArmedPolitics’ publishers.

She said: “I now have another client in Germany, who I write articles for. I also rewrite articles written by other copywriters, to ensure clarity and readability.”

Robyn is the editorial assistant and proofreader at CMP, as well as being a freelance editor for other clients.

See our proofreading and editing course | Browse courses | Back to blog

Proofreading Course: Copy editing

 

Our proofreading course explains what copy editing involves and the importance of editing copy for the intended reader and purpose.

What do copy editors edit?

Some copy editors work in advertising agencies as part of a team. They deal with written words (copy), while artists and graphic designers handle images.

However, they are also to be found working for magazines, websites, newspapers, businesses, charities and public authorities of all kinds.

The work may include editing:

  • Posters and adverts.
  • Leaflets, competitions, adverts, mailshots and brochures.
  • Advertising features.
  • Advertorials.
  • Scripts or jingles for TV and radio.
  • Business material: reports, letters, corporate communications.
  • Newsletters.
  • Marketing and sales proposals.
  • Press releases.
  • Content for the web.
  • Manuals and handbooks.
  • Research papers and dissertations.
  • Sales and promotional literature.
  • Letters.

The challenge is to edit the copy so that it:

  • Is error free.
  • Follows house style.
  • Is consistent with the publication’s or author’s “voice”.
  • Can be clearly understood by the target reader.
  • Clearly conveys the prime purpose of the text.

Copy editors usually receive a brief that gives background information on the client, their product(s) and the target audience. So, in some respects, copy editors are a “reader’s friend” and they edit the copy with a reader in mind.

They make sure it is suitable for them in terms of its language, content, presentation, etc.

There needs to be a close relationship between the copy editor and the artists and graphic designers if the final product uses words and images.

Copy editors often work on several briefs at once. Another aspect of the work is attending meetings with colleagues, clients and suppliers.

So, they must get used to working to tight deadlines and must be ready, when necessary, to work long hours including evenings and weekends.

See our proofreading course

Learners get key copyright tips on proofreading course

 

Many of our proofreading course graduates run websites, to showcase their editorial skills. But it’s important that they remember the copyright advice we provide on our online proofreading course

If you copy snippets of text from another site, you don’t usually need to get consent. But make sure you credit the copyright owner.

Images are different – take great care with them, as getting it wrong can be expensive. Make sure you either use your own photos, purchase them from someone else, or find free ones. However, even free photos need checking, in case they have been designated for non-commercial use.

Also, make sure you put a copyright notice on your own site, to protect your content.

If you don’t, people will find it easier to claim that you gave ‘implied consent’ to use their content. It’s best to used strict wording, and then take a relaxed approach if anyone asks to use something, rather than the other way round.

See our proofreading courses

Proofreading Course: Defamation

 

Our proofreading course explains the laws a copy editor should be aware of, and how to apply them to a range of situations.

In short, libel law protects individuals from untruthful attacks on their reputation. A person is libelled if the words cause, or are likely to cause, serious harm to their reputation, by:

  1. Causing them to be shunned or avoided.
  2. Lowering them in the eyes of right-thinking people.
  3. Exposing them to ridicule, hatred or contempt.
  4. Disparaging them in their office, trade or profession.

We call this the CLED definition.

Defamation

Were the words defamatory according to the CLED definition above? These are some of the dangers:

  1. Obvious risks: It is dangerous to claim that someone is guilty of criminal or antisocial behaviour, unqualified for their job or incompetent. How would you feel if someone said that about you?
  2. Questioning motives: This is dangerous whether it is in news stories or comment pieces. Motives are almost impossible to prove.
  3. Meanings of words: You should be aware of words that change meanings, and keep pace with them. You may use a word in one context, but if a reader can reasonably place another meaning on it, the publisher could be liable for libel.
  4. Innuendoes: An innuendo is a hidden meaning that will be understood by someone with special knowledge.
  5. Implications: It is not safe to suggest something. You may as well come straight out and say it. You will still have to prove what you are implying is true.#
  6. Denials: Publishing a denial does not make a defamatory allegation safe. The publisher will still have to prove the precise truth of the allegation, even though it has been denied.
  7. Juxtaposition: Check that stories, headlines and pictures close to each other do not create the possibility of misinterpretation. Also, make sure that people are correctly identified in photos.
  8. Archived material: If it was libellous once, it will be again. If you are editing extracts that use court copy, check to see if there was a successful appeal or if convictions are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (RoA 1974).
  9. Headlines: Are they an accurate reflection of the copy?
  10. Arrests: Beware of naming people who have been arrested, unless police have named them at a press conference or in an official statement.
  11. Fair stories: Giving both sides of the story does not make a defamatory allegation safe. The publisher will still have to prove the precise truth of the allegation.
  12. Careless adjectives: Take care with adjectives used alongside defamatory allegations in introductions or headlines.
  13. Wrong conclusions: 2 + 2 = 5.
  14. Using the word “alleged”. This does not make a defamatory statement safer. In fact, it could make it worse.

See our proofreading course

Proofreading Course: What is libel?

 

Our proofreading course explains the laws a copy editor should be aware of, and how to apply them to a range of situations.

What is libel?

Most clients have their texts checked for legal issues before sending them to a copy editor. But, some do not, and a good copy editor should be able to spot potential legal dangers.

The laws of libel in the UK are strict and it can be very expensive if a publisher gets it wrong. Damages can run into hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds. And, the costs can be just as high.

So, it is important that you have a working knowledge of the areas of libel law that could affect your work as a copy editor.

In short, libel law protects individuals from untruthful attacks on their reputation. A person is libelled if the words cause, or are likely to cause, serious harm to their reputation, by:

  1. Causing them to be shunned or avoided.
  2. Lowering them in the eyes of right-thinking people.
  3. Exposing them to ridicule, hatred or contempt.
  4. Disparaging them in their office, trade or profession.

We call this the CLED definition.

So, what is a defamatory statement?

A simple test is to ask yourself: “How would I feel if someone wrote this about me?”

How would you feel if a magazine, book or report branded you a thief, pervert, conman or liar, or said you were incompetent, corrupt or dishonest? The chances are that you would not like it. Neither would the person that your client is writing about.

However, if a publisher can prove that a statement is substantially true, then they will win their case. But, this can be difficult, as we will see later on.

Here are some typical libellous statements

They should not be used unless the publisher has cast-iron proof that they are true.

  1. Individual, X, (who may or may not be named explicitly) has committed some criminal or seriously antisocial act.
  2. X is a liar, is dishonest or has committed a fraudulent act.
  3. X took a bribe; X tried to bribe Y.
  4. X stole from Y; X is a thief.
  5. X is violent or abusive.
  6. X damaged Y’s property.
  7. X is a drugs dealer, a drug user or, simply, “is involved in” drugs.
  8. X is a hypocrite.
  9. X is bankrupt; is nearly bankrupt or has serious financial problems.
  10. X owes money which he will not (or cannot) pay back.
  11. X exploits others in some way.
  12. Company Z is dishonest (for whatever reason).
  13. Z’s products are substandard, of poor quality, etc.
  14. Z’s activities are damaging the environment.
  15. Z is bankrupt, is nearly bankrupt or is in financial trouble.

Libel is full of pitfalls for the publisher and therefore, the copy editor, such as:

  1. If someone publishes something defamatory, they are responsible for it, even if someone else said it.
  2. You can libel someone by accident and still be liable.
  3. Da mage is assumed; it does not have to be proved.
  4. You can be sued if the reader places a different meaning on words than the author intended them to have.
  5. The reader does not have to prove the words were false. The publisher has to prove they were true, and to a very high standard.

See our proofreading course

Proofreading Course: What is a Trademark?

 

Our proofreading course explains the laws a copy editor should be aware of, and how to apply them to a range of situations.

The importance of trademarks

Companies guard trademarks ferociously. They are valuable commodities, and businesses spend millions to distinguish them from the rest of the pack.

They will not tolerate any breaches.

Once a trademark starts to be used as a noun or verb, there is a real risk that its distinctiveness will be eroded, diluted or even lost entirely.

And, when that happens, the particular trademark may be revoked because it has become genericised.

This makes a trademark become synonymous with all products of its kind. For example, people say they are “doing the hoovering”, even if they are using a Dyson or a Vax.

Businesses do not want their products lumped together with all the others.

Editors, writers and proofreaders are often at the frontline of this battle, as the way trademarks are used is often down to them.

The way they handle trademarks can significantly affect a business’s value.

You, or your client, can expect to get a letter of complaint if you have used a trademark incorrectly. You could even face a court action for devaluing a brand, although this is unlikely.

Checking trademarks

The easiest way to check whether words are trademarks is to use the Intellectual Property Office website.

Enter the search details and the website will produce a list of instances where the words in question are protected by trademarks, or where a trademark has been applied for.

Be careful, though, as this is not an exhaustive list.

Some trademarks are registered on a “word only” basis. This means that only the pure text is trademarked:

Others are trademarked as “stylised words” which are used as part of a logo, or written only in a specific typeface:

When referring to protected company or product names, the term to use is “trademark”. You should not use the terms “copyright” or “patent-protected”, as these are different things.

Accuracy

Aspirin, sellotape and escalator are all trademarks, but have been absorbed into every language as generic terms. So have portacabins and google. This does not mean that you can use these as generic terms. You need to check whether they have been trademarked.

It is important to not only check whether a word is a trademark, but to make sure that the item was made by that company, and not another. 

If a portable cabin is not made by Portakabin, or you cannot find out who made it, then you call it a portable cabin, and not a Portakabin.

So, the rule is:

If an author uses a trademark in their copy, check that they have used it accurately. Was it made by that company, and is it registered?

The author will get a rude letter from an offended company if you get trademarks wrong.

See our proofreading course

Why I chose to self-publish

 

Phil is a CMP freelance journalism course graduate who recently published two books on Amazon Kindle. See his author page
I made the decision to go down the self-publishing route for a number of reasons. My work is important to me, not in a precious kind of way, but how it is treated is still important. This is why I enrolled on CMP’s proofreading and editing course

I wanted to be able to decide when the book was published and not have to wait for the official go ahead from a publisher.

I wanted to have complete control concerning each stage of the process, including the cover design and with self-publishing I was able to do this. Again, proofreading was important – hence my decision to do an online proofreading course

Most people assume that going down the traditional publishing route is the best deal and it still can be, but, isn’t there always a ‘but’, it isn’t always the best route.

A friend of mine wrote three books and had them published by three separate mainstream publishers, none sold more than a handful of copies.

The modern publishing deal tends to offer very little, if anything at all upfront and a small amount of royalties for sales achieved.

A conventional publisher will often drop any new author, who has not achieved enough book sales within the first year.
The much talked about multi-book deals, are sadly, on the whole a thing of the past. The standard is one book, with an option to buy a second. The option is the publisher’s back door.

The author I mentioned above was dropped by each publisher, as his books failed to attract enough sales.

He found that being a published author, with two books in print, meant nothing and it took him a full year to find an agent prepared to take him on.

Going down the direct route, I mocked up my own cover design and found a very low priced professional cover designer in Mexico, who is working on my forth cover design, as I type this.

When my book was finished, I was able to format and compile it myself, make test versions and only when I was happy, upload it.

I had a book go live on Amazon, across the global markets, within an hour. Within 48 hours it was in all aspects no different than any other Kindle book.

The following evening I had already sold two books and had my first Amazon review. I will be uploading a different version of my book to Amazon’s print-on demand website Createspace and this will offer readers a paperback option, printed per sale.

Our proofreading course students are sometimes puzzled by the Guardian Style Guide’s lack of deference to office bearers. Surely such Important People should be addressed with their Full Titles, including capital letters?

Not any longer! You don’t have to be on our online proofreading course for very long to discover that the GSG is no respecter of reputations.

It says that you should only use the term ‘Councillor’ when you first mention them – not something that goes down well in the corridors of power at your local town hall, where I’ve witnessed elected representatives foaming at the mouth with rage when they are not Properly referred to as Vice Chairman of the Planning Committee!

The GSG’s section under ‘Honorifics’ explains how to address someone by their title. It says that you use the full title when you first mention the person, but after that, you use only their name and no title. So even Boris Johnson becomes Johnson 
 and Lady Brady, of Apprentice fame, has to settle for being called Brady.

The guide admits that this reflects a society that is less formal and less deferential, and notes that some websites have abandoned capital letters altogether.

This certainly makes like easier for our proofreading course students, once they get used to it.

Proofreading Course: What is Copyright?

 

Our proofreading course explains the laws a copy editor should be aware of, and how to apply them to a range of situations.

Authors often need to use other people’s material in articles that they write. This may be taken from a website, book or magazine, or from a speech or interview.

Everything that they “lift” is someone else’s copyright; in other words, it is someone else’s property.

That does not mean the author cannot use it. But, it is important to have a good working knowledge of UK copyright laws so that copy editors know what authors can, or cannot, do safely.

A copy editor needs to be vigilant when working on jobs where the author has used other people’s material, such as:

  • Photos.
  • Logos.
  • Graphics.
  • Artwork.
  • Text.

What is copyright?

The act governing copyright in this country is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA 1988). This act has been amended several times by European Union directives.

Copyright covers the products of people’s skill, labour, creativity and time.

There is no copyright on ideas. They have to be expressed before copyright exists.

Work must be “fixed” in order for copyright to apply, that is, written down, recorded, filmed, put onto a PC, photographed, etc.

Copyright means ownership of the following types of work:

  • Literary: this includes stories, features, newspapers and magazines and the writing that goes into them.
  • Dramatic: something capable of being performed.
  • Musical.
  • Artistic: this includes photos, graphics, maps, drawings, etc. It is a breach of copyright to publish without permission all or part of such works. This is true even if they are adapted to create a new sketch to illustrate a new document.
  • Sound recordings.
  • Films.
  • Broadcast: this includes material placed on the internet. Web publications are defined as “communications with the public”.
  • Cable programmes.
  • Typographical arrangements of published editions: this refers to the way a particular magazine or newspaper looks.

Copyright does not apply if the work does not fall into one of the above categories.

Copyright is described as “intellectual property” and, like other items of property, it can be sold, given away, bequeathed, split up or retained.

Copyright is usually owned by the creator of an original work, unless or until they sell it to someone else.

For copyright to change hands, an agreement must be signed in writing.

It is a criminal offence to reproduce copyright material from one website onto another if you know or had reason to believe the work was copyrighted.

Copyright in Britain and the EU starts from when the work is first created. It lasts 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the originator of the work dies (no matter who owns the copyright).

If there is a dispute, the onus is on any copyright owner to prove that the work is original.

Copyright in the UK does not have to be registered. It applies automatically.

UK copyright laws are generally recognised throughout the EU, US and other countries.

See our proofreading course

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