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The University of Southampton

LAWS3149 Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Designs

Module Overview

This module is composed of two sections. The first section is devoted to exploring the law that protects original works of authorship (copyright). Significant emphasis is placed on the process of European Union (EU) harmonisation in the area of copyright, and its implications for UK law. The second section tackles the law of designs from UK and EU perspectives. Some of the questions addressed in this course include: Who can be considered an author? What does ‘originality’ mean in a copyright context? Do you need permission from the copyright holder to provide links to his/her content over the internet? Can you resell your videogames, ebooks and iTunes music tracks? Do you need permission from the copyright holder to make a parody of his/her work? Why is there such a thing as design right? Can both copyright and design protection subsist at the same time on the same work, and, if so, what are the relevant implications? This module allows and encourages you to undertake a critical analysis of the state of the law in the field of copyright and designs, as well as international influences and the impact of harmonisation at the EU level. Whilst lecture and tutorial materials are provided, significant emphasis is placed on self-learning, enabling lectures and tutorials to concentrate on specific topics and issues.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This modules aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the law of and relevant policy debate on copyright and design law and policy, at both the EU and UK levels.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The main principles of UK and EU law in relation to copyright and designs and the key policy issues related to them
  • Current recommendations for reform.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • apply the law in relation to copyright and designs
  • critically analyse the law in relation to copyright and designs.
  • make use of developed research skills and knowledge of relevant legal resources in preparation for classes;
  • undertake critical analysis of legal material and relevant legal issues.
  • demonstrate developed competence in the use of key online and offline IP legal resources.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • solve appropriate problems
  • demonstrate your ability to clearly communicate and discuss complex ideas and arguments in writing indicating an appreciation of academic integrity.


The syllabus for the course ‘IP Law 1: Copyright and Designs’ is composed of 2 themes: copyright and designs. Specific subjects to be covered may change, but this is an indicative outline of the usual topics: 1. Introduction to and justifications for copyright 2. Basics of copyright protection: notions of ‘work’, ‘author’, ‘originality’ 3. The main rights granted by copyright: moral and economic rights 4. Exceptions and limitations to copyright 5. Introduction to the law of designs 6. Registered and unregistered design rights

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching follows a lecture/seminar format with weekly 2-hour classes. Learning activities are partially directed by selective suggestions: but – as is felt appropriate for a Part 2 commercial law subject – you are also encouraged to engage in self-directed learning, particularly in preparation for classes. Preparation for and participation in classes will develop your: • Understanding of and ability to apply and critically analyse the laws of copyright and designs; • Skills in managing and researching diverse legal sources.

Completion of assessment task15
Preparation for scheduled sessions100
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Christie and Gare. Blackstone's Statutes on Intellectual Property. 

Bently and Sherman (2014). Intellectual Property Law. 



Essay or problem question


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.5 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


You will be expected only to buy both of the core texts. Bently – Sherman, Intellectual Property Law, 4th edn (OUP:2014). Christie – Gare, Blackstone's Statutes on Intellectual Property (Blackstone's Statute Series), latest edition available.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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