Copyright gives the creators of a wide range of material, such as literature, art, music, sound recordings, films and broadcasts. These rights include economic rights which enable the owner 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”.)
However, copyright does not protect ideas, or such things as names or titles.
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.
Most uses of copyright material therefore require permission from the copyright owner. However there are exceptions to copyright, so that some minor uses may not infringe copyright.
Copyright protection is automatic as soon as there is a record in any form of the material that has been created. However, if a dispute occurs you may have to prove copyright ownership, this is where registration is of vital importance. Creators / authors can take certain steps to help prove that material is theirs but copyright registration is by far the most effective..