Are you the creator or author of any creative material and you are wondering what protection you may or may not have for your original work?
Then you should be interested in copyright law and how it affects the protection of your original work.
What is copyright?
Copyright is a legal right given to the authors or creators of works. Their rights are:
- The right to control the reproduction of their work.
- Moral rights in their work.
- Performers’ rights in their work.
Reproduction, moral and performers rights are complex and require specialist advice from a lawyer.
There are some basic criteria that a work must meet to receive copyright protection in Australia, including:
- A literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work must be an original work and not just a copy of another work
- The work must be made by a resident or citizen of Australia
- The work must have either been made or first published in Australia.
What does copyright actually protect?
Copyright protects the written expression of an idea or concept.
Under copyright law, the copyright owner has a number of exclusive rights including the right to:
- Publish the work,
- Control copying,
- Prepare derivative works,
- Perform of their work, and
- Make the material available online
Generally, the Copyright Act protects eight different categories of “works” and “subject matter other than works”. These are:
- Literary works – books, letters, articles in periodicals, newspapers and magazines, poems, assignments, theses
- Dramatic works – plays, film and television scripts
- Musical works – notated music i.e. scores and lyrics to a song
- Artistic works – photos, paintings, drawings, maps, charts, diagrams
- Films – DVDs, videos, TV programs, TV advertisements, short films, full length theatrical releases
Copyright does NOT:
- Protect the actual idea or concept itself
- Give the author of a work a monopoly over the ideas or information expressed in that work.
- Protect names, titles and slogans, as these are not usually considered to be substantial works, which are the result of sufficient skill and labour.
- Protect basic facts such as names and addresses
Therefore, while copyright law aims to protect the creative work of the copyright owner from unauthorised use by others, it also aims to balance the right with the general public’s right to access information.
Internet Law can assist you to find the right lawyer to:
- Explain your rights under copyright law.
- Establish the nature of your work under copyright law.
- Determine your rights under copyright law.
- Help you to protect your original work.
Contact us with your enquiry today!