What is copyright?

A copyright is a protection given to founder, author, creator, designer, or maker of original works. This means that the maker of the work has the only right to perform or display his or her works publicly, make copies of his or her own works, distribute copies of his or her own works, or making modifications, adaptations, and translations of his or her own work. Thus, it is illegal for anyone to execute the following without the permission of the original creator of the work.

Copyright law is now governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. And most of the modern amendments originate from European Union. However, this concept of copyright originated in England with the Statute of Anne (1710), stating that copyright term lasts for 14 years and an option to renew for an additional of 14 years.

What are the works that are eligible for copyright?

  1. Authorial Works
  • Original literary works
  • Original dramatic works
  • Original musical works
  • Original artistic works

Literary works, dramatic works, and musical works are subject to a fixation requirement, that is, it must be recorded.

  1. Entrepreneurial works
  • Films
  • Sound Recordings
  • Broadcasts
  • Typographical arrangements of published editions

Authors and ownership

It is presumed that the creator of the work is the first owner of any copyright. Exceptions may include when the work was created in the time of employment, or when the author is an officer or servant of the Crown.

The law presumes that:

  • The named person, is the author of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work
  • The publisher, is the owner of the published edition of a work
  • The producer, is the owner of a sound recording
  • The producer and the principal director, are the owners of the film

There are also certain cases where there is a collaboration of two or more authors of the work given that their contribution is not distinct from that of the other author. This is called a joint authorship.