Is there a need for copyright registration?
To Fully protect your rights in a court of law it is vitally important you have proof of copyright ownership to back up any claim should a conflict of rights to a certain piece of work arise.
What is not protected by copyright?
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for copyright protection. These include among others:
- Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded)
- Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or colouring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
- Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration
- Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)
More About Copyright
Today's technological innovations present almost limitless opportunities for the worldwide distribution of copyrighted works. But these same technologies make it possible for anyone to pirate works with a single keystroke.
Unauthorised publishing, broadcasting or copying even a small part of a song or piece of music will undoubtedly deny the original creators of all the revenue and recognition that is normally generated by a successful composition. Click here to learn about Copyright and Music
Copyright gives the creators of a wide range of material, such as literature, art, music, sound recordings, films and broadcasts, economic rights enabling them to control use of their material in a number of ways, such as by making copies, issuing copies to the public, performing in public, broadcasting and use on-line. It also gives moral rights to be identified as the creator of certain kinds of material, and to object to distortion or mutilation of it. (Material protected by copyright is termed a "work".)
The purpose of copyright is to allow creators to gain economic rewards for their efforts and so encourage future creativity and the development of new material which benefits us all. Copyright material is usually the result of creative skill and/or significant labour and/or investment, and without protection, it would often be very easy for others to exploit material without paying the creator.
How to secure a copyright
The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. No publication or registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. There are, however, certain definite advantages to registration.
- Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is "created" when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. "Copies" are material objects from which a work can be read or visually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books, manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape, or microfilm. "Phonorecords" are material objects embodying fixations of sounds (excluding, by statutory definition, motion picture soundtracks), such as cassette tapes, CDs, or LP's. Thus, for example, a song (the "work") can be fixed in sheet music ("copies") or in phonograph disks (" phonorecords"), or both. .
- If a work is prepared over a period of time, the part of the work that is fixed on a particular date constitutes the created work as of that date.
- Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright. Unlike the law before 1978, when a work has been registered in unpublished form, it is not necessary to make another registration when the work becomes published, although the copyright owner may register the published edition, if desired.
About Poor Man's Copyright
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself in a sealed envelope or package is often referred to as a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the text of international copyright law that recognises this as a reliable alternative to registration. Therefore, the process of placing reliance on the “poor man’s copyright” is not a viable substitute for registration.
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About the information given on this web sitePlease note. The intention of this web site is to make available wide-ranging copyright information while offering basic copyright education to our visitors. Many of your questions and queries on the subject of copyright may be answered within this web site or through the recommended links and resources provided on our page. The information contained within this site is offered as a consideration to visitors and at no time should the information be construed as legal advice; for all legal matters, we encourage our visitors to seek the assistance of an attorney.