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The UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 states that "the owner of the copyright has the exclusive right to copy the work". The function of copyright is to protect the skill and labour expended by the author, of a piece of work. As such, copyrighted material may not be printed, copied or distributed without permission from the owner of the copyright. In general, you cannot copyright facts but the consequential analysis, presentation and approach can certainly be copyrighted. Especially when information is downloaded from the Internet, it is dangerous to assume that it is in the 'public domain' unless it is explicit on the point.

As soon as the author creates a 'work' (of whatever nature) which is original, a copyright automatically come into existence. The author is not obliged to register the work, although registration makes the copyright more visible.

To avoid any misunderstanding, all documents, reports, surveys etc should have the copyright owner affixed.

*** The Information Security Glossary ***
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