Copyright protects your work and stops others from using it without your
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:
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.
- original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including
illustration and photography
- original non-literary written work, such as software, web content
- sound and music recordings
- film and television recordings
- the layout of published editions of written, dramatic and musical works
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
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unpublished works.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; 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."
To prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted
To distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the
public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or
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
case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital
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
WHO CAN CLAIM COPYRIGHT
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