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HMRC internal manual

Guidance on the Audit of Customs Values

Exclusions from the customs value: intellectual rights

The ideas of an author (that is writer, composer, painter, architect or industrial inventor for example) are normally expressed in the material form of a model, manuscript, picture, blueprint drawing or software. The owners (whether the author or a second party) have the unquestioned right to make use of the material form as they see fit.

No one has the right to reproduce, perform or use the work or idea without the author’s authorisation. Authors are also legally entitled to any prestige or financial rewards deriving from their intellectual concept. Authors hold this right independently of the ownership of the material article in which their concepts are embodied. This right may exist even if it is not so materialised. For example, the words of lecturers enjoy the same protection, as would an author’s written work. The intellectual right applies to the thought itself and not to the material expression of the thought.

The intellectual right may be either:

  1. a right pertaining to literary or artistic property (including musical/visual), that is copyright or
  2. an industrial property right (for example right to hold a patent). The holders of patents - for duration of those patents - are the only persons authorised to:
* manufacture and/or
* offer for sale and/or
* use the object of their inventions for commercial purposes.

The protection accorded to intellectual rights also prevents the public performance of a work without the express authorisation of the author. Producers of records/music cassettes (that is, those who first record the sounds of a performance onto a medium) have the right to authorise or forbid the physical reproduction of their recordings. Copyright or patent reserves the economic exploitation of a work for commercial purposes.