What is Copyrights?
Copyright (or author’s right) is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.
What can be protected using Copyright?
Exhaustive lists of works covered by copyright are usually not to be found in legislation. Nonetheless, broadly speaking, works commonly protected by copyright throughout the world include: literary works such as novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspaper articles; computer programs, databases; films, musical compositions, and choreography; artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculpture; architecture; and advertisements, maps, and technical drawings. Copyright protection extends only to expressions and not to ideas, procedures, and methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such. Copyright may or may not be available for a number of objects such as titles, slogans, or logos, depending on whether they contain sufficient authorship.
What rights does copyright give me? What are my rights as author of a work?
There are two types of rights under copyright: economic rights, which allow the rights owner to derive financial reward from the use of his works by others; and moral rights, which protect the non-economic interests of the author. Most copyright laws state that the rights owner has the economic right to authorize or prevent certain uses in relation to a work or, in some cases, to receive remuneration for the use of his work (such as through collective management). The economic rights owner of a work can prohibit or authorize: its reproduction in various forms, such as printed publication or sound recording; its public performance, such as in a play or musical work; its recording, for example, in the form of compact discs or DVDs; its broadcasting, by radio, cable or satellite; its translation into other languages; and its adaptation, such as a novel into a film screenplay. Examples of widely recognized moral rights include the right to claim authorship of a work and the right to oppose changes to a work that could harm the creator’s reputation.
Can we register copyright?
In the majority of countries, and according to the Berne Convention, copyright protection is obtained automatically without the need for registration or other formalities.
Most countries nonetheless have a system in place to allow for the voluntary registration of works. Such voluntary registrations systems can help solve disputes over ownership or creation, as well as facilitate financial transactions, sales, and the assignment and/or transfer of rights.
Please note that WIPO does not offer a copyright registration system or a searchable copyright database.
What is a “Work”?
The term “work” is used in the copyright context to refer to a wide range of intellectual creations, from novels to architecture, computer programs, and more.
What is the © symbol? Do we need to include it on our work?
In the past, some countries had legislation in place that required the copyright holder to comply with certain formalities in order to receive copyright protection. One of those formalities was to include an indication that copyright had been claimed, such as by using the symbol ©. Currently, very few countries still impose formalities on copyright, therefore the use of such symbols is no longer a legal requirement. Nonetheless, many right owners still include the symbol © as a highly visible way to emphasize that that work is protected by copyright and that all rights are reserved, as opposed to a less restrictive license.