Our service standards
Copyright Witness have a history of excellence in this very specialised sector. Our service is used and trusted by tens of thousands of creative individuals and creative industries all over the world.
Our clients range from legal professionals, government and public sector agencies, to large and small businesses, enterprise start-ups and private individuals.
Work can be protected immediately using the on-line service. Once we receive your work, final processing and allocation of registration numbers is usually carried out by our staff on the same or next working day.
We typically respond to questions and correspondence about your registrations on the same or next working day.
For more information, please see our speed of service page.
All data that you provide is treated as strictly confidential. We have strict policies governing the transmission and storage of data.
We host our own secure servers in our own facilities to ensure that your data cannot be accessed by any unauthorised party. All files and data you submit via our website are transmitted over encrypted connections directly to our secure servers.
For more details, our security page has details of the measures we take to guarantee your privacy and security.
We are happy to supply evidence to support any case regardless of where in the world that may be.
Copyright itself is an international right, and although details of national laws may differ, the basic rights are the same in most countries due to international conventions (principally the Berne Convention) that provide a common framework that national legislation must follow.
[There are some additional considerations for citizens of the United States of America].
In terms of our service, it does not really matter where a case is brought - evidence is still evidence - and we place no restriction on where that evidence can be used (some other companies make you pay extra for this - we honestly can’t see why they should).
Large works accepted
*Due to web-browser limitations (many browsers will not upload files larger than 2GB), the on-line systems currently restrict individual files to less than 2GB, but you can upload as many files as you need up to a to a maximum 20GB per deposit submission.
Even larger works can be submitted via postal application.
Tip: Postal applications are better suited for larger works or items that cannot be uploaded.
The best protection
We take rigorous measures to protect against data loss and disaster to ensure that your work will be available as evidence in any future disputes.
All registered data is backed up to multiple geographically separate locations. All back ups are encrypted and stored on a variety of media types in each location. This distributed archive is actively managed to ensure that valid copies of the work will always exist even in the event of a disaster at one of our facilities (such as a fire, flood, or electromagnetic pulse).
This means that the evidence you submit is much safer with the UK Copyright Service than with alternative options or competing services that rely on storing files in a warehouse, solicitor’s office or bank vault.
It is perhaps not surprising that many solicitors use us to store items that their clients have submitted to them.
The strongest evidence
Every deposit you make is treated as a separate item of evidence, with its own chain of custody, unique reference, registration date and audit trail.
If you need us to produce the work as evidence, it is provided as a copy, not the original deposit. This is important as it means the original evidence is still on record and can be used again and again in further disputes or appeals without loosing validity.
This far exceeds the provisions of often quoted alternatives (and many of our competitors) that often just store and return the original deposit in a dispute.
True independent witnessing
Unlike some often quoted alternatives, registration with Copyright Witness provides truly independent evidence of your copyright claim.
When you register your work, it is securely stored, cannot be directly updated and you have no direct access to it. This means that we can guarantee that the copy we hold is a genuine record of your work as it existed at that point in time. This is particularly important if you ever need a copy of the work produced as evidence in a legal case. (for more on this see our page discussing the alternatives).
We are not a guild or association that requires you to become a member, and we have no direct affiliation with any organisation representing author or artist rights, (etc.). This means that we have no vested interest in your claim, and can therefore be truly impartial when we supply evidence.
The strength and integrity of evidence we provide is of paramount importance, and our strict procedures ensure that evidence cannot be tampered with and is always available whenever it is needed.
Registration updates are a convenient and economical way to deal with work that is under development or subject to change.
First introduced by us in 2005, the update facility allows you to add additional versions or parts of a work as your work evolves, whilst still retaining the full dated evidence from every previous submission. Updates are a very economical way to protect your work, as each update submission is charged at a reduced rate and at the end of the registration period you have just one registration for the work to renew (rather than a registration for each version).
For full details of the update facility, please see our fact sheet P-17: Updating copyright registrations.
Value for money
We aim to provide the best service at a price that everyone can afford and try to keep our pricing as simple and transparent as we can.
Rather than offering gimmicks or headline prices that magically grow at the checkout, we aim to provide a straightforward service with the flexibility to meet your needs and budget.
Here are some tips to help you get the best value from our service:
- If you have a number of items that belong together it probably make sense to submit them together as a single work.
For example: It is common for songwriters to submit an album as a single work, or a photographer to submit a DVD containing a few months worth of images and cover the whole collection for a single fee.
- If a work you have already registered changes it works out cheaper (especially in the long run) to submit an update than a fresh registration.
Here to stay
Providing a copyright witnessing service requires long term commitment and planning and we have measures in place to ensure all our long term obligations are met.
Key personnel/directors have signed provision agreements stating that in the (very unlikely) event of a decision to close the company, they become personally liable and responsible for ensuring all client contracts are honoured. This means that no matter what happens to our company, we will continue to ensure that your work is safely stored for the registration period, and that service administrators will still be available to produce evidence to help prove your copyright on request.
All services are not the same
We often see sites claiming to offer a similar service, but that only allow small or single file uploads. Besides working out more expensive for registering files of any significant size, most services we have investigated relied on third party hosted systems, and commonly used non-secure transfer methods (such as email or standard HTTP connection rather than HTTPS) - such activities are prohibited under our service standards.
Many services we investigated did not backup registered works, relied on the copyright holder to store the work themselves, (and thus provided no independent evidence), or simply return the work in a dispute, (and therefore the copyright holder has no evidence for future disputes). We have even found some services that simply store a checksum of the files (MD5 or similar) rather that the actual work - a checksum is of course worthless unless the client retains a copy of the work exactly as it was submitted and never alters it (if any changes are made to the file the checksum would no longer match).
Naturally at Copyright Witness we can always provide a full copy of the material you deposited as evidence.
Many services do not explain what would happen if their company ceases to trade. Since our service started a number of companies (Copyright Vault, Song Protector, Charter Gallant, WCAUK, any many more) have started competing services that subsequently closed after a few years. It is therefore important to check that the registration company you choose has made provision to cover your work if they close and that their commitment to this is stated in the terms of the contract.
At Copyright Witness this is of course covered (see ‘Here to stay’ section above) and is written into our terms of service (section 5.9).