What is Copyright

Copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects a variety of literary, artistic, musical and dramatic endeavours as well as other things such as sound recordings and films.

Laws vary from country to country however generally speaking copyright laws recognise that individuals have the right to protect the moral and economic interests arising from their creative works. It is not ideas but their expression that are protected by copyright law.

The law gives owners of copyright exclusive rights to do certain things with their material. Copyright is intended to protect creative works from being used without the agreement of the owner and to provide an incentive for creators to continue to create new material.

Copyright is a type of property that can be traded just like other types of property, such as real estate. However, it is different from tangible property in that it can be copied or otherwise used easily without the knowledge of the owner.

Duration of Copyright

Copyright lasts for different periods depending on a number of factors including the type of material, when it was created, when the creator died and when it was published.

Copyright periods can also vary from country to country.

When copyright in a work has expired, it is often referred to as being in the public domain or out of copyright.

Internet Content and Copyright

Content available from the internet is usually covered by copyright. In most cases you need permission to use it, unless the copyright owner has given upfront permission (such as a Creative Commons licence) or your use is covered by a special copyright exception.

The sorts of content covered by copyright include:

  • text
  • music scores
  • images
  • video
  • audio recordings