Technical question on the Law of copyright

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    I had an appeal dealing with reg 8/9(1)(a)&(l) of the HBR 2006, where appellant and landlord are close relations but not living in the same dwelling re a claim received in 2012.


    It has been stated that when the tenancy started a number of years previous there was a verbal agreement in place between the parties, it was also stated at the hearing that but when a claim for HB was made a tenancy agreement has been shown, which was the parties got from an on-line site, and it states that the agreement is dated the 1st day of January 2008 (yet the term does not start until the 01.09.08).


    However, at the bottom in small print, shows ©2002-2012 [the name of the on-line company]. When I looked at their web-site today, their home page the copyright is now showing to cover the period 2002-2013.


    So my question is this, is it possible to copyright a document (such as a tenancy agreement) in advance, or not?


    My gut instinct is that the tenancy agreement that the appellant has alleged was created/agreed to on the 01.01.08, was actually printed off in 2012 from the website with earlier dates entered on it to give the impression that there was a formal agreement in place prior to the claim for HB being made.

    John Boxall

    Why not go to the website and ask them the details – it would carry far more weight at tribunal

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield


    copyright exists from the creation of the document for a set period, so it is automatically copyrighted ‘in advance’. the date denotes the date of publication, publishers change the date to denote a re-issue/republication/update. so the fact that the document states ©2002-2012 says that that version was published in 2012. the company running the site should be able to confirm this i would imagine.


    Is there evidence of rent payments made prior to the HB claim? The tenancy agreement may be a red herring, created to satisfy the LA and the less formal agreement that existed prior to thismay well be valid. Bear in mind that the T/A is not necessarily evidence of the rent liability as an agreement could be a shake of the hands. If they don’t have evidence of any periodic payments made at least you have balance of probability on your side.

    Best to cover all bases…


    Thanks for the answers.

    As for the last post, there was a verbal agreement between the appellant and the landlord (father) the appellant worked for their father, and their rent/bills were deducted from source, this was up until about 2010, when they joined another company, and then payment became infrequent, and arrears accrued, but no action was taken by the landlord, the appellant was made redundant at start of 2012. There is evidence that their father loaned monies to appellant to assist in their other financial commitments despite the arrears.

    While the tenancy may have been on a commercial footing at the start (prior to making a HB claim), as time went on it appears that that footing changed, and the introduction of the tenancy agreement if it is shown (as will try and request info from company regarding their copyright) to have been printed off in 2012 and presented as created in 2008, this would go towards showing that the creation of the tenancy agreement appears to be to underpin a claim for HB (as claim made in 2012) rather than a document which both parties intended to be bound by.


    Copyright exists in the expression of ideas. Copyright comes into existence the moment the idea is expressed in a recorded form. Typically several separate pieces of copyright will exist in respect of any particular document, e.g. the words used, layout, font etc, and copyright in a single document or other piece of intellectual property can lie with several different legal personalities. The person who creates a document is not necessarily a person with copyright. The duration of copyright is determined by statutory provisions – not by any expression of the period of copyright (although an expression that copyright is in existence might serve to dissuade unlawful usage).

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