Copyright in intellectual property deals with rights of the human intellect which can be protected against copyright and essential protects the authors, musicians and other artists for the interests in their original pieces of work. Section 5 of the Copyright Act 1911 contains the reversionary interest that means that the license of a copyright revert back to the descendants of the Author 25 years after their death. This used to means that when an author dies, regardless of the assignments made during the person’s lifetime, the license would always revert back after the 25 years to the successors of author. The benefit of the rights in a copyright is that you have the monopoly over that copyright so that you can use that in whichever way you want which is usually to benefit from the royalties, which the copyright receives. The Copyright act 1956 abolished reversionary rights after 1 July 1957 but left all copyright predating this law still applicable to the section 4 1911 law. It was thought that the previous law was put into place to help encourage people to be more innovative without fear of their ideas being exploited by more rich and powerful companies. Original creators legacy could live on in some form by reverting back to descendants after 25 years and this would give people security in actually coming forward with their creations but with the advances in intellectual property law and the in the way that interests were bought and sold, the 1957 law was thought as a move forward in the flexibility and control of interests as they could be permanently acquired.
The case of Redwood Music v. Francis Day  RPC 337 (HL) was an appeal case from the appellants who had applied to the house of lords after a decision in the court of appeal meant that they had lost the interest rights in a collection of music. Section 35(1) of the Copyright Act 1911 contains an exception to where the interests in a copyright can’t revert back to the descendants of the author after 25 years even when the copyright was created before the 1 July 1957. Section 35(1) provides that if the work can be described as “collective work” then this work cannot revert back to the descendants of the author after 25 years. This is for obvious reasons such as the work have multiple people and sources from which it has been complied and so not one author could be determined. This is also one reason why this law has been abolished today because a lot of original pieces are produced collectively. Sections 35(1) describes a “collective work” as “(a) an encyclopaedia, dictionary, year book, or similar work; (b) a newspaper, review, magazine, or similar periodical; and (c) any work written in distinct parts by different authors, or in which works or parts of works of different authors are incorporated”. The case involved a number of works, which included songs, lyrics and music in various forms and the court of appeal had had, deem that this collection was not a “collective work” because the lyrics and music for most of the music was written by different people. The House of Lords case was now going to again look into to this to see if the appellants could retrieve the interests that would have been assigned inter vivos instead of the revisionary rights from the 1911 copyright act being used.
In this case, the purposive approach was first used and the description given in section 35(1)(c) of collective works was looked at. This part says that any work written in distinct parts by different authors or parts of work put together could be considered as “collective works”. It was held that a compilation collection of music that could have been put together by anyone individual might contain many separate copyrights in the music, which each interest would belong to each individual person who had created that original piece of music and would not be deemed a “collective work”. In the same way, a collection of music that had its lyrics wrote by one artist and