6 Things You Didn’t Know about Copyright
By Rhennen Ford
Rhennen Ford is a solicitor for Streten Masons lawyers and has worked on numerous copyright disputes. He has taken some time to answer commonly asked questions about licensing and copyright law.
Whilst copyright is automatic, it must be expressed in material form. This basically means that it must be reduced to writing or in a form that is capable of storage. Once it has been reduced to material form, subject to other requirements, the copyright exists. Different requirements apply in relation to sound recordings, film and other means of broadcasted material compared to normal copyrighted material.
2. Who owns the copyright in recorded music?
Copyright in recorded music is generally owned by the maker of the sound recording. Typically, when a performer records a track with a recording studio that performer would have entered into a licence agreement whereby the performer would be paid compensation (typically through continuing royalty fees) for the recording studio to distribute the track on their behalf. If there is no form of agreement in place then it is likely to be the case that the recording studio has all rights in the track.
3. How do I formally register my original, creative work?
Unlike patents and trademarks copyright is not required to be registered and exists through proof of ownership.
4. What is the duration of the copyright?
Depending on the type of work that copyright exists in (literature, music, sound recording etc) determines the period of time for which copyright protection lasts. For example,
- Literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work last for 70 years after the death of the author;
- Unpublished literary, dramatic, or musical work (excluding computer programs): 70 years after first publication;
- Sound recordings and films last for 50 years from year of publication;
- Broadcasts last for 50 years from year broadcast was made; and
- Published works last for 25 years from year of first publication.
5. What is licensing?
Licensing is where the owner of copyrighted material grants another person or entity the right to use their rights in the material for a specific or open purpose. There is usually a license fee payable as part of this type of agreement with strict limitations on the use of the copyrighted material.
6. Someone has plagiarized my work. Where do I go from here?
Begin collating records to show that you are the legal copyright holder in the material. The next step is to begin enforcing your rights by contacting the person in breach of your copyright and notifying them of your rights in the material and requesting that they cease and desist. Failing compliance with a cease and desist request you should then seek legal advice so as to determine the best means of ensuring that your rights and interests are upheld.
At Streten Masons Lawyers we can help by providing prompt commercial advice to ensure that any copyright material your own is adequately protected and upheld. Contact Rhennen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07 5428 1111 to talk about how we can help your business with trademarks & copyrights, licensing.