Copyright 101

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‘Copyright’ is a phrase most people have heard or used, but do we actually know that much about it?

 

What is Copyright?

Copyright is an exclusive legal right given to a creator for a certain amount of time over material they have produced. Copyright is usually given to people who produce creative work like authors, artists or musicians.

Copyright will protect work such as:

  • Music;

  • literature;

  • artistic work like paintings;

  • sound recordings and broadcasts;

  • films;

  • computer programs.

 

Copyright will not cover:

  • ideas, techniques and information;

  • names, titles or slogans;

  • images of people.

 

Copyright generally means that other people need permission to use the work which is protected. It is possible to provide licenses for other people to use copyrighted material.

 

When does someone get copyright?

Lucky for the creator of the work, copyright automatically applies once the work is written down or recorded in some way.

There is no way to register copy right in Australia, it is not necessary to apply to receive the protection of copyright.

 

How do I let people know I have copyright?

As there is no way to register copy right there is no database to check in the same way as other intellectual property such as trademarks.

Some people will choose to use the copyright symbol © and a copyright notice which consists of the owner’s name and year of publication.

A copyright notice and the symbol are optional and not mandatory in Australia. 

 

How long does copyright last?

Generally, copyright will last for the life of the creator plus 70 years. In some situations, the length is based on the year of publication, so copyright will last 70 years after it was first published.

 

Infringement and Disputes

If there is a dispute about who owns copyright it will usually be heard by a court to make a determination.

Copyright means people need permission to use the work. If somebody commits a copyright infringement it may be necessary to issue a letter to demand to request the infringing act stops or to commence legal proceedings.  

 

How does Copyright work internationally?

There are a number of international treaties which mean that material created in Australia is recognised and protected in most countries overseas.

Due to the international treaties and the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), Australia protects majority of copyright material produced overseas.

 

Coutts has experience in dealing with Intellectual Property and invites you to contact us if you have any enquiries.

 

For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

Rebecca Watts
Lawyer
rebecca@couttslegal.com.au
02 4607 2148

 

This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.