Extent and Nature of Copyright Protection

Extent of Copyright Protection


Where you have used some element of skill, effort or judgement in expressing, representing or compiling materials, the result, regardless of quality, and whether in written, artistic or in other forms, may benefit from copyright protection.

The Extent of Copyright Protection

The nature of Copyright Protection: Copyright protection entitles you to prevent others from copying, adapting or dealing in copies of your material. Protection generally lasts for 70 years from the author's death, whether the finished work was published or unpublished (with variations for electronic media). Database protection lasts for fifteen years from when the database was made public or fifteen years from the beginning of the year following creation.

Copyright protection is available to owners of works which have been recorded in some permanent way involving an element of skill, effort or judgement. Aesthetic merit in the copyright work is irrelevant and the protection is equally applicable to technical descriptions and promotional materials as to non-commercial literature and art. It is important to note, however, that although a work may be protected in this way, the idea it expresses is not.

Copyright in Business: In the business context, copyright protection is in particular available for the following: written materials which may be used in your business, e.g. catalogues, forms, brochures, tables, compilations; computer programs and materials stored in computers; artistic works including graphics, artwork and works of artistic craftsmanship; expressions of dramatic and musical works; and electronic media including sound recordings, soundtracks, films and videos.

In addition there is special protection for databases - defined as a collection of independent works arranged systematically and accessible electronically or otherwise individually. There is, however, one important exclusion - product designs or prototypes are not normally copyright protected but they may have design right protection.

Authors' Moral Rights: Authors of certain works have moral rights over the use to which that work is subsequently put and this must be borne in mind if you are dealing in copyright materials.

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