What is Copyright.
What is copyright?
Copyright is the legal term, which describes the rights given to authors/creators of certain categories of work. Copyright protection extends to the following works:
- original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works,
- sound recordings, films,
- broadcasts, cable programmes,
- the typographical arrangement of published editions,
- computer programmes,
- original databases.
The owner of copyright is the author, meaning the person who creates the work. For example a photographer is the owner in the case of a photograph. However, as copyright is a form of property, the right may be transferred to someone else, for example, to a publisher. Where an employee in the course of employment creates the work, the employer is the owner of the copyright in the work, unless an agreement to the contrary exists. So, in the case of the photographer, if he/she is employed by a news organisation, the news organisation may be the copyright owner of the photographs published.
Copyright is a property right and the owner of the work can control the use of the work, subject to certain exceptions. The owner has the exclusive right to prohibit or authorise others to undertake the following:
- copy the work
- perform the work
- make the work available to the public through broadcasting or recordings
- make an adaptation of the work.
Copyright takes effect as soon as the work is put on paper, film, or other fixed medium such as CD-ROM, DVD, Internet, etc. No protection is provided for ideas while the ideas are in a persons mind; copyright law protects the form of expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves.
Whether you are a copyright owner or a copyright user, the understanding of the copyright basics is crucial to any business. It should always be borne in mind that safeguarding your own copyright and securing the permission of third parties before using copyrighted materials is not only legally required but also a good business practice.
Further useful information can be obtained from the “Copyright Essentials” fact Sheet from the European IPR Helpdesk