What is copyright?

Anyone in business may have new ideas or creative items they want to ensure aren’t shared or stolen. They may have logo changes or branding designs which make their profile instantly recognisable and to this end it’s vital to protect everything to ensure competitors don’t take the ideas as their own.

Talking to specialists at http://www.londonip.co.uk/ can guide you through all the aspects of keeping everything safe, but if you want a quick guide to one aspect which may be pertinent – copyright – here’s the basics to arm you with the knowledge you need.

What is copyright?

Copyright means the legal right to protect your work as soon as you have expressed your idea. It’s a law which comes under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.

The details of copyright law give a framework of rules as to how your work can be used. The rights of the owner as well as the responsibilities of who uses the work are also set out. Having copyright means you can copy, sell, change or share online and also prevent others from doing the same thing with your work without your permission.

Interaction with copyright is part of our lives every day. Government figures show that the creative industry generates around £8 million every hour from copyrighted work; this can include when you listen to music online, watch video clips or read downloaded books.

What is covered by copyright?

Copyright laws cover many areas of creativity including:

  • Film
  • Sound recording and broadcast
  • Literary works such as poetry
  • Artwork
  • Dramatic and musical works

If you believe your work should be covered by copyright law then it should be two things; original and tangible.

To be considered original, your work must have been produced as a result of your own skill and labour and shouldn’t be a copy of something else which already exists – a painting for example.

Tangible means that it can’t be just an idea. The work you want protecting must physically exist and have been expressed by yourself. If you’ve written a piece of drama or a book in your head, it will only qualify for copyright once it has been written down or recorded if it is music.

Does copyright last forever

Copyright has a different length of protection dependent on a number of elements. This can include the category the work falls into and when it was created. As an example, if you are an author and create a book of poetry for publishing, it will be protected for 70 years after your death.

What is copyright infringement?

If your work has been copied without your permission and you are sure that it isn’t accidental inclusion in something else, you may be able to pursue for copyright infringement. Only you as the owner can take legal action against the infringer and you will need to provide evidence. This can include:

  • A copy of the infringing work
  • A copy of your own work; mark where the two works are similar
  • Date of registration of your work
  • Other document such as letters or dated emails which refer to the expression of the work before the infringed copy was produced

It’s also important to keep all your developmental notes such as rough versions, diary notes and literary synopsis ideas if relevant . These will all add weight to show that you yourself developed the work rather than stealing it from the infringer.

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