In Robin Ray v Classic FM, the English Significant Courtroom held that a contractor providing companies owns the intellectual house in the products developed for the customer. The determination is a useful guidebook to contractors as it is one of the primary circumstances in determining the whether or not a commissioner of intellectual property could use intellectual home for needs not expressly contemplated by a composed settlement.

Track record

Mr Ray was a remarkably highly regarded skilled in classical tunes in England, reputed to have an encyclopaedic understanding of classical music. He was engaged by Vintage FM in the United Kingdom in 1991 to compile the radio station’s repertoire, compile playlists, categorising tracks for play lists, and fee their popularity less than each individual of the classes. The deal did not offer with intellectual residence rights. The consultancy agreement was originally for 11 months, nonetheless the operate of Mr Ray proved effective for Common FM, and his services ended up prolonged until finally 1997. Some 50,000 tracks ended up at some point categorised. The effects of the perform had been integrated into a database that was applied to pick music on a rotational foundation, and avert overplaying.

The project was results. Just after inside use for about 5 several years, Basic FM proposed to licence the databases to abroad corporations. Mr Ray objected and commenced proceedings to prevent Typical FM licensing the use outdoors the British isles without the need of his permission, on the foundation that he was the author of paperwork that were incorporated into the database.

The Choice of the Significant Courtroom

Mr Justice Lightman in the Higher Court ruled that in the case of a consultancy, the author retained the copyright in the absence of an convey or implied term to the contrary result. The place expert services by a marketing consultant are executed for an convey function, a court will easily imply a expression into a contract for expert services that a client is entitled to use it for that reason. In this situation, Traditional FM generally meant to utilise the Mr Ray’s get the job done in the British isles. It was not until 1996 that Vintage FM supposed to exploit Mr Ray’s function overseas. The court docket was not geared up to indicate a licence into the contract that Classic FM would be entitled to exploit his operate abroad. Common FM was prevented from exploiting their database overseas with no the consent of Mr Ray, which would have to have payment of license fees.

When implying licences in this way, a court docket will only go so significantly as is required in the situation to give effect to the intention of the functions. If a grant of a licence is needed, the ambit of the licence will be the bare minimum expected to give effect to the intention of the functions at the time of the contract. An implied time period that copyright would be assigned to a customer will be extremely rare, as most usually an exclusive licence will have the exact same impact in legislation.

The choose held that the contractor retains the copyright in default of some convey or implied expression to the contrary influence. The contract might expressly point out which occasion is entitled to the copyright, and the mere simple fact that the contractor has been commissioned – performed by a contractor – is insufficient to grant legal rights in the copyright to the client. In the absence of specific rights, the consumer is remaining to establish an entitlement under the categorical or implied term of the agreement.


The selection suggests that contractors retain the copyright in the absence of an implied or express expression. An implied licence ought to be fair and equitable necessary to give company efficacy to the contract, able of very clear expression and not opposite to any specific phrase of the contract, and so clear that it goes without having stating. Possession of intellectual house legal rights and licenses to use the rights ought to not be remaining to likelihood it is preferable to unwelcome implied licenses which allow a customer to use a get the job done and and somewhat deliver the mentioned applications for whci use could be manufactured at the outset of the engagement. So it is essential to document the uses of the engagement and the supposed use for the copyright get the job done produced all through the course of the engagement.