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Copyright is a legal right giving a person the exclusive right to copy and deal with what are known as “copyright works”.

The major types of copyright works are literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic works; sound recordings, films, broadcast or cable programmes; some databases and typographical arrangements.

Computer programs are copyright works and are classed as literary works.

In order to qualify for copyright protection the work must be in permanent form and it must be an original work.

Not every original work will be protected by copyright; some effort and skill must have been expended in creating the work. However provided that sufficient effort and skill has been expended copyright will protect even the most unappealing work.

The person who owns the copyright is the author of the work unless it was created in the course of someone’s employment, in which case the employer will own the copyright.

It is important to understand that copyright will protect a work automatically as soon as the work is created. You do not have to apply for copyright and there is no system for registering a copyright work. In order to draw attention to the fact that a work is protected by copyright the work should be marked with the copyright symbol © followed by your name and date.

Points to Note

Copyright does not protect ideas—the work must be in some sort of permanent form

Adapting an existing work may be an infringement of copyright

Where a work is created by more than one person, copyright will be shared

Limited copying for certain purposes is permitted

Be careful when copying any items from the internet you may be infringing  somebody’s copyright

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