5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR COPYRIGHT IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Protecting Your Copyright

CAN I CLAIM COPYRIGHT?

If your business creates any original logos, drawings, designs, newsletters, music or audio-visual works — then it’s likely that you are the owner of the original copyright. This affords you legal protection against others using or infringing that copyright in certain circumstances.

WHAT TYPE OF CREATIVE WORK IS COVERED BY COPYRIGHT?

In Australia, for creative work to enjoy copyright protection, it must be in material form (hard copy or electronic) and have a sufficient connection to Australia. The protection afforded includes exclusive economic rights (for a limited time). Copyright in artistic works lasts 70 years from the date of first publication, 50 years for radio & television broadcasts and 25 years for published editions.

  • photographs
  • computer programs
  • art and illustrations
  • dramatic and musical works
  • films
  • sounds recordings
  • radio and TV broadcasts
  • publications

WHAT TYPE OF CREATIVE WORK ISN’T COVERED BY COPYRIGHT?

With a few exceptions, copyright law doesn’t protect:

  • names, titles and slogans
  • people and people’s images

WHEN WORK IS COMMISSIONED, WHO OWNS THE COPYRIGHT?

Generally speaking, creative work like company or business drawings, logos, photographs, newsletters and other visual imagery will be protected by copyright. That being said, if you’ve commissioned work from a graphic artist, they might own the copyright (unless you have an agreement to the contrary).

WHEN DOES COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT OCCUR?

Infringement occurs when another person or business makes copies or exploits a work commercially without the copyright owner’s permission. For copyright infringement to occur, there must be a “substantially similar” reproduction and the subsequent work must have been copied from the original. Creating very similar work independently does not necessarily constitute infringement.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CAN PROVE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT?

Once copyright infringement has been proven, there are various avenues of redress that you can pursue. These include:

  • seeking an order from the Court to enter the person’s or business’s premises and seizing the offending material
  • commencing court action to claim for damages, an account of profits or delivery up of the infringing article/s.

MURFETT LEGAL IS HERE TO HELP

Given the ease at which digital material can be reproduced and shared, copyright infringement is becoming increasingly common in the Australian business world. Failing to recognise when your copyright has been breached and act on it can hand your competitors an advantage and allow them to benefit from your hard work. As ignorance of the law is no defence, you need to ensure that your business is not guilty of copyright infringement.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store