What is Copyright?

Before you go any further you need to know that there is no official register for copyright. It is an unregistered right (unlike patents, registered designs or trade marks). So, there is no official action to take, (no application to make, forms to fill in or fees to pay). Copyright comes into effect immediately, as soon as something that can be protected is created and "fixed" in some way, eg on paper, on film, via sound recording, as an electronic record on the internet, etc.

It is a good idea for you to mark your copyright work with the copyright symbol © followed by your name and the date, to warn others against copying it, but it is not legally necessary in the UK.

The type of works that copyright protects are:

  1. original literary works, e.g. novels, instruction manuals, computer programs, lyrics for songs, articles in newspapers, some types of databases, but not names or titles thats registered and unregistered trade marks;

  2. original dramatic works, including works of dance or mime;

  3. original musical works;

  4. original artistic works, e.g. paintings, engravings, photographs, sculptures, collages, works of architecture, technical drawings, diagrams, maps, logos;

  5. published editions of works, i.e. the typographical arrangement of a publication;

  6. sound recordings, which may be recordings on any medium, e.g. tape or compact disc, and may be recordings of other copyright works, e.g. musical or literary;

  7. films, including videos; and

  8. broadcasts.

So the above works are protected by copyright, regardless of the medium in which they exist and this includes the internet. You should also note that copyright does not protect ideas. It protects the way the idea is expressed in a piece of work, but it does not protect the idea itself.

For more information about copyright you can:

Copyright Advice
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