Copyright is a form of intellectual property law, it protects original works of authorship,
Including literacy, dramatical, musical and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.
It doesn’t protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.
For a work to receive copyright protection, it must be
- Original – an original creation or work. Except sound recordings, films and broadcasts.
- Fixed – in written or recorded form.
Copyright is the only form of protection that is automatic. This means you do not need to apply, fill forms or pay for it. However, you will need to prove ownership by proving the work was in your possession at a given time. To do this you should:
- Sign / date your work
- Seal it in an envelope and mail it to yourself. Make sure you do NOT open the envelope.
- Digital time stamps on some documents can also be used as proof.
This does not prove that a work was created by you, but it could be useful in settling disputes, for example if someone else claims they own / created the work on a given date, but you can prove it was in your possession at an earlier date.
As the owner of a copyright, you have exclusive rights on the work including rights to Attribution and Objecting to offensive treatment of the work. Your rights would be infringed is any of the following is done to/with your work without your permission:
- Public performance
When working with a 3rd party or commissioning work, e.g., a website, it is important to have contractual agreements signed, to confirm who owns the copy right because, the rights will belong to the 3rd party. Also, if work is done by an employee, whilst still being employed, the right will belong to the employer. Therefore, employers should include a clause on copy right ownership in contract.