In Robin Ray v Classic FM, the English Large Court held that a contractor giving products and services owns the intellectual property in the supplies produced for the client. The choice is a helpful tutorial to contractors as it is 1 of the major circumstances in figuring out the no matter if a commissioner of intellectual house may perhaps use mental residence for reasons not expressly contemplated by a penned agreement.

Track record

Mr Ray was a highly revered skilled in classical new music in England, reputed to have an encyclopaedic awareness of classical music. He was engaged by Classic FM in the United Kingdom in 1991 to compile the radio station’s repertoire, compile playlists, categorising tracks for play lists, and charge their popularity beneath just about every of the groups. The deal did not offer with mental house legal rights. The consultancy agreement was originally for 11 months, nevertheless the work of Mr Ray proved valuable for Traditional FM, and his services ended up prolonged right up until 1997. Some 50,000 tracks were being ultimately categorised. The outcomes of the operate were being incorporated into a databases that was applied to choose music on a rotational basis, and avert overplaying.

The undertaking was accomplishment. Right after internal use for about 5 several years, Classic FM proposed to licence the database to abroad firms. Mr Ray objected and commenced proceedings to reduce Typical FM licensing the use outside the Uk without his permission, on the foundation that he was the creator of documents that were integrated into the databases.

The Selection of the Higher Courtroom

Mr Justice Lightman in the Large Court dominated that in the situation of a consultancy, the creator retained the copyright in the absence of an convey or implied expression to the contrary result. Where by expert services by a specialist are executed for an express goal, a court docket will conveniently indicate a time period into a deal for providers that a client is entitled to use it for that function. In this scenario, Classic FM normally intended to utilise the Mr Ray’s operate in the British isles. It was not until eventually 1996 that Common FM meant to exploit Mr Ray’s function abroad. The courtroom was not geared up to suggest a licence into the deal that Classic FM would be entitled to exploit his work overseas. Common FM was prevented from exploiting their databases abroad with no the consent of Mr Ray, which would call for payment of license costs.

When implying licences in this way, a court docket will only go so significantly as is required in the situations to give influence to the intention of the parties. If a grant of a licence is expected, the ambit of the licence will be the least required to give outcome to the intention of the events at the time of the deal. An implied term that copyright would be assigned to a consumer will be extremely exceptional, as most usually an distinctive licence will have the similar influence in law.

The decide held that the contractor retains the copyright in default of some convey or implied expression to the contrary effect. The contract may perhaps expressly state which celebration is entitled to the copyright, and the mere simple fact that the contractor has been commissioned – carried out by a contractor – is inadequate to grant legal rights in the copyright to the client. In the absence of convey rights, the shopper is remaining to build an entitlement underneath the categorical or implied term of the agreement.


The decision means that contractors keep the copyright in the absence of an implied or specific phrase. An implied licence must be acceptable and equitable required to give small business efficacy to the deal, capable of distinct expression and not contrary to any categorical term of the deal, and so evident that it goes devoid of indicating. Ownership of mental property rights and licenses to use the legal rights must not be left to chance it is preferable to undesirable implied licenses which enable a shopper to use a perform and and relatively offer the stated functions for whci use might be designed at the outset of the engagement. Hence it is vital to document the functions of the engagement and the intended use for the copyright work made in the course of the training course of the engagement.