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What is Copyright?

Unless otherwise noted, all content is
(c)Copyright 1997-2024 3rdKey.com, Andrew Hughes. All rights reserved.

This material may not be reproduced in any manner without permission of the author (Andrew Hughes, 3rdKey.com). This also means you may not download anything from this site.

Permission is granted to make a hypertext link to any page with a ".html", ".htm", ".shtml", ".php" suffix within the directory structure of 3rdKey.com.

However, linking to any CGI or other program running on our server without permission is strictly forbidden. Also forbidden, is linking to any image directly; you may link to complete pages which include images, but you may not link directly to a file with a ".cgi", ".acgi", ".fcgi", ".js", ".css", ".gif", ".png", ".jpeg" or ".jpg" suffix.


A summary of what copyright means...


"You get copyright protection automatically - you do not have to apply or pay a fee. There is not a register of copyright works in the UK."

"Copyright prevents people from: distributing copies of [your work], whether free of charge or for sale"
Copyright protects your work and stops others from using it without your permission.

You get copyright protection automatically - you do not have to apply or pay a fee. There is not a register of copyright works in the UK.

You automatically get copyright protection when you create:
  • original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including illustration and photography
  • original non-literary written work, such as software, web content and databases
  • sound and music recordings
  • film and television recordings
  • broadcasts
  • the layout of published editions of written, dramatic and musical works
You can mark your work with the copyright symbol (©), your name and the year of creation. Whether you mark the work or not does not affect the level of protection you have.

How copyright protects your work

Copyright prevents people from:
  • copying your work
  • distributing copies of it, whether free of charge or for sale
  • renting or lending copies of your work
  • performing, showing or playing your work in public
  • making an adaptation of your work
  • putting it on the internet

Copyright overseas

Your work could be protected by copyright in other countries through international agreements, for example the Berne Convention.

In most countries copyright lasts a minimum of life plus 50 years for most types of written, dramatic and artistic works, and at least 25 years for photographs. It can be different for other types of work.
"Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
To reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
To prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
To distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
To perform the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
To display the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and
In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
In addition, certain authors of works of visual art have the rights of attribution and integrity as described in section 106A of the 1976 Copyright Act. For further information, request Circular 40, "Copyright Registration for Works of the Visual Arts."

It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright code to the owner of copyright. These rights, however, are not unlimited in scope. Sections 107 through 120 of the 1976 Copyright Act establish limitations on these rights. In some cases, these limitations are specified exemptions from copyright liability. One major limitation is the doctrine of "fair use," which is given a statutory basis in section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act. In other instances, the limitation takes the form of a "compulsory license" under which certain limited uses of copyrighted works are permitted upon payment of specified royalties and compliance with statutory conditions. For further information about the limitations of any of these rights, consult the copyright code or write to the Copyright Office.


Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright."

--US Copyright Office

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