Copyright is an exclusive legal right acquired by a creator/author of original works of authorship expressed in a tangible form. Copyright is an automatic right by virtue of creation.
A closely associated field is “related rights“, or rights related to copyright, that encompass rights similar or identical to those of copyright. The beneficiaries of related rights are: performers (such as actors and musicians); producers of sound recordings (for example, compact discs) and broadcasting organisations in their radio and television programs.
Works covered by copyright include novels, poems, plays, referencing works, newspapers, advertisements, computer programs, databases, films, musical compositions, choreography, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, architecture, maps and technical drawings.
How do I protect my copyright?
Copyright protection is automatic under international law, but in the event that your work is infringed, evidence may be required to support your claim. It also helps to deter infringement (particularly from those who do not understand copyright) if you make it clear that your work is protected under copyright law. So, ensuring the best protection for your work relies on several factors.
There are four simple steps you can take that can ensure that your work is safe
- Ensure your work is properly marked
A correctly worded notice will deter infringement as it states that the work is protected under law.
Although a copyright notice is not required, (work is automatically subject to copyright protection under law), displaying a notice shows that you have an awareness of copyright and take infringements of your work seriously.
- Register your work.
If your work is infringed and your claim to copyright is disputed (i.e. in a plagiarism case – where the other party claims the work is theirs), you may need evidence to help prove your claim.
- Keep or register supporting evidence.
Supporting evidence falls into two categories:
Evolution of ideas
This is evidence of the progression of the work. Early drafts, synopsis, rough recordings, sketches, etc. are all evidence that the work progressed over time, rather than being copied from elsewhere. Although it is possible to fake such evidence, it is often time consuming to do so, so it can be fairly good evidence to demonstrate that you created the work from scratch over a period of time.
Footprints or watermarking
This is normally evidence inserted into finished documents that will identify the author in some way, such as deliberate mistakes, or hidden data that can be read using special applications.
- Agreement between co-authors.
If your work is a joint venture, be sure you know exactly where you stand, who will own what rights, and what happens when someone leaves.
What rights do copyright and related rights provide?
The creators of works are protected by copyright and their heirs also have certain basic rights under copyright law. They hold the exclusive right to use or authorise others to use the work on agreed terms.
Similar rights, among others, fixation (recording) and reproduction are granted under related rights. The creators can transfer these rights to companies that is in a better position to develop and market the works, in return for compensation. The economic rights in copyright law duration is 50 years from the day of creation or fixation of the work, and 50 years after the creator’s death.
What are the benefits of protecting copyright and related rights with BIPA?
Copyright protection testimonials serve as an exhibit or prima facie evidence in the court of law. As the owner of the work, you can submit the testimonials as evidence that the work belongs to you.
For more information on Copyright, please visit the WIPO website