Your work emails are owned by you

Work Emails
Work Emails

Work Emails

You have the ownership and copyright of your work emails according to a court decision.

A judge has given his decision on emails. He says that companies don‘t have an ‘enforcable proprietary right‘ to emails sent by staff or contractors using the client‘s email system.

The only exceptions are

o where the email has copyright information in it or

o has confidential information related to the company.

The judge said ‘I can find no practical basis for holding that there should be property in the content of an email. That’s even if I thought that it was otherwise open to me to do so”.

Email Copyright

He continued “To the extent that people require protection against the misuse of information contained in emails, in my judgment satisfactory protection is provided under English law either by the equitable jurisdiction to which I have referred in relation to confidential information (or by contract, where there is one) or, where applicable, the law of copyright’.

Justice Edwards-Stuart asked:-

“Would parties who had formerly communicated with each other on a regular basis by email but had since fallen out, have the right to demand access to each other’s servers in order to see to whom emails that they had sent had been forwarded?” .

“If the answer to questions such as these is No, then I have difficulty in seeing what advantage there might be if it were to be held that there was a shared proprietary right in the content of emails: it would be of little or no value.

Considerable Ramifications

‘But if the answer was yes, the ramifications would be considerable. I would have thought, they were by no means beneficial.”

So, there you are.

You own the copyright to your own emails, even when they are on the client‘s server.

You own your own work emails.

That‘s as it should be.