The © symbol is seen almost everywhere particularly next to famous names. But what is copyright and how can it protect your business?
Copyright protects your originally created work and prevents others from using it without your permission. Your right to copyright material exists automatically, you do not need to apply for it as you would apply for a trade mark. The UK legislation defines copyright as pertaining to; original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic (including photographic) work. The Courts have ruled that it also applies to; software and web-content, music recordings, film and TV, and the layout of published artistic work such as musical score or a screenplay.
An extensive right
The right is therefore an extensive one, although the legislative list and judicial interpretation are exhaustive. This means that if you create something which is not recognised by law as being capable of copyright, it cannot be copyrighted, unless you get a Court ruling in your favour of course.
Nevertheless it is an extensive right and a highly useful one. It protects people from copying or distributing your work without your permission. This includes preventing anyone from using your material on the internet, renting or lending it, performing your work, and even adapting your work.
How to protect your work
It is advisable to mark your creation with the © or you can write copyright and also adding the year is good practice. However using the symbol does not create the right as it exists automatically, it does however notify the market that the material is subject to copyright protection.
You can market your copyrighted material by licensing it out to others who wish to use it. It would be very wise to have a licence agreement in place fully setting out the nature of the relationship, rather than relying on a verbal agreement.
Protecting your copyright is your responsibility. This will usually mean being attentive to what is out there in the market. You should contact a lawyer for taking any action if you do spot any use which you believe is an infringement, as the appropriate course of action will depend on a case by case basis.
Don’t forget to contact us using the Contact Form if you wish to discuss copyright or any other legal issue.