COPYRIGHT LAW To start off with what is Copyright?

Copyright is an automatic protection over creative work published by an author: hence no registration is required to protect such work. Copyright will give the author rights to control the reproduction of their work; therefore, you must ask for permission or be granted permission to use anything that was not created by you which is unique. (See copyscape.com to find out if your contents been stolen)

The term 'Creative' work includes:

Literature (i.e. articles, novels, song lyrics, reviews and so on)
Art (i.e. photographs, logos, paintings, architecture.
Note: Google’s images are Copyrighted and any used need to be asked permission for)
Music (this refers to background music as well as the song)
Sound Recordings
Films Broadcasts
Titles and Slogans cannot be copyrighted these are classed as trademarks and are protected by a separate law (and process).
In addition, copyright does not protect ideas or inventions, for ideas or inventions to be copyrighted they must be patented.
The copyright law is the same in the virtual (internet) and real world.

Using Your Copyright for Financial Benefit

Copyrighted work can be sold, leased, or inherited. No party can reproduce your work without your permission. You may reject any request made to use your material or allow it to be used for free or for a fee (royalty). If you decide to allow a party to reproduce your work, you should create a statement of terms and conditions and do include that they are not allowed to distribute it without your permission, or they can distribute as they wish (master resell rights in terms of e-booking and such) If you sell or give away the copyrighted material, the ownership of the copyright is no longer yours and you no longer have the right to use the work without the permission of the new owner.

Does my Copyright Extend Overseas?

Copyright in the UK extends to most countries which are ruled by the same International association. This includes Western Europe, USA and Russia. However, some countries may have minor differences to using and displaying copyright material. Take it upon yourself to familiarise yourself with the copyright law on your country.

Marking Copyright Material

Copyright material is marked by displaying a symbol next to, or within proximity to, the appropriate material. The recommended way of displaying a copyright mark is as follows: Author/Owner of copyright, Date of publication. Example: StudentStyle.net 1998 - 2006 In the UK, displaying the above is not a legal requirement: however it may support a legal case in the event of copyright infringement. If you want to display a copyright mark for material on a web page, it is common for the web publisher to display the mark within the footer of each page.

Proving the work is originally yours

Proving your work is actually your work can be very difficult and is usually (on the majority of cases) left to the discretion of the court if an infringement occurs. However, there are ways that you can officially 'date' your work which will act in your favour if the infringing party cannot prove that they created the work at an earlier date. To date your work you can; Send copies of the work to be deposited at banks or signed and dated by a legal representative (i.e. a solicitor. In addition, you could send a copy of the work to yourself via recorded delivery and leave unopened on receiving: the packaging would display a stamped date. However, it is important that you do not attempt to prove the originality of your work by using a method where the date can be easily fixed or tampered with. For example, saving work onto computer disks can produce wrong date signatures if the computer's calendar is inaccurate.

How Long Does a UK Copyright Last?

A copyright lasts for the duration of the author's life plus an additional 70 years after death. For sound recordings and broadcasts, it only lasts for an additional 50 years after the death of the author.

When a Copyright Does Not Belong to the Author

If an individual created a piece of work for their own use, they (the author) would be the copyright owner. If an individual created a piece of work for the company they worked for, the copyright would belong to the company and not the author. The same principle applies to, say, students whose university projects will be attributed to the university and not the student (unless otherwise stated by the university). Other scenarios would be when, for example, a graphic designer creates a logo for a company (that paid to use the service). On handing the finished logo over to the company, the graphic design company are still the rightful owners of the copyright. However, it is common practise for the graphic designer to hand over the ownership of the copyright with the completed logo.

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