What is Copyright?

This article also answers the following questions:

  • What types of works does copyright cover?
  • How long does copyright last?
  • What is the copyright symbol?

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a right which stops the copying of the expression of an idea.  Copyright covers literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, and so will protect written text (books, scripts, and reports), sound recordings, films, broadcasts, drawings, sculptures, photographs, maps and websites, to name only a selection.

How Long does Copyright Last?

Copyright usually lasts for 50 years (for sound recordings and broadcasts) or 70 years (in addition to the lifetime of the director/score composer/screenplay author).  It is important to remember that a copyright only covers the particular form in which the idea is represented, and not the names, designs or functions of the item.

What is the Symbol for Copyright?

Copyright is an automatic right which exists from the moment a piece of work is completed by the creator, and is indicated with the use of a “c” in a circle ©, followed by the creators name and date.  As it is unregistered, it is a wise idea for the creator to record and store copies of any new works with a date mark to gather a body of evidence in the possible case of any infringements.  Conversely, as the owner of a copyright, a person has the right to sell, license or transfer their copyright, and can receive royalties in return.