In Robin Ray v Traditional FM, the English Large Court held that a contractor offering companies owns the intellectual house in the materials made for the client. The conclusion is a helpful guide to contractors as it is just one of the foremost cases in figuring out the regardless of whether a commissioner of intellectual house may well use mental assets for needs not expressly contemplated by a written arrangement.

Track record

Mr Ray was a very respected skilled in classical music in England, reputed to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of classical audio. He was engaged by Typical FM in the United Kingdom in 1991 to compile the radio station’s repertoire, compile playlists, categorising tracks for perform lists, and amount their popularity beneath every single of the types. The deal did not offer with mental home rights. The consultancy settlement was originally for 11 months, however the work of Mr Ray proved valuable for Vintage FM, and his companies ended up extended until 1997. Some 50,000 tracks have been ultimately categorised. The benefits of the perform were incorporated into a databases that was used to select music on a rotational basis, and avert overplaying.

The job was success. Just after inside use for about 5 several years, Vintage FM proposed to licence the database to overseas businesses. Mr Ray objected and commenced proceedings to reduce Classic FM licensing the use outdoors the Uk without his authorization, on the basis that he was the creator of paperwork that were incorporated into the databases.

The Final decision of the Substantial Court docket

Mr Justice Lightman in the Higher Court docket ruled that in the circumstance of a consultancy, the writer retained the copyright in the absence of an categorical or implied term to the opposite effect. In which companies by a guide are carried out for an convey purpose, a court will quickly indicate a phrase into a deal for products and services that a customer is entitled to use it for that objective. In this case, Typical FM generally intended to utilise the Mr Ray’s do the job in the Uk. It was not right until 1996 that Classic FM meant to exploit Mr Ray’s function overseas. The court docket was not geared up to indicate a licence into the deal that Traditional FM would be entitled to exploit his do the job abroad. Vintage FM was prevented from exploiting their database overseas without having the consent of Mr Ray, which would require payment of license expenses.

When implying licences in this way, a court docket will only go so much as is vital in the situation to give impact to the intention of the get-togethers. If a grant of a licence is needed, the ambit of the licence will be the least necessary to give outcome to the intention of the events at the time of the contract. An implied term that copyright would be assigned to a customer will be extremely uncommon, as most normally an unique licence will have the similar outcome in law.

The judge held that the contractor retains the copyright in default of some categorical or implied phrase to the opposite impact. The contract may expressly condition which get together is entitled to the copyright, and the mere reality that the contractor has been commissioned – executed by a contractor – is insufficient to grant legal rights in the copyright to the client. In the absence of convey legal rights, the client is remaining to build an entitlement below the specific or implied phrase of the contract.


The conclusion indicates that contractors keep the copyright in the absence of an implied or convey time period. An implied licence will have to be reasonable and equitable important to give organization efficacy to the deal, capable of apparent expression and not contrary to any categorical expression of the deal, and so clear that it goes without the need of stating. Ownership of mental home rights and licenses to use the rights should not be still left to opportunity it is preferable to unwelcome implied licenses which enable a shopper to use a perform and and alternatively give the mentioned purposes for whci use may possibly be produced at the outset of the engagement. So it is significant to document the functions of the engagement and the supposed use for the copyright get the job done developed during the course of the engagement.