Copyright: The Effect of Copyright


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The effect of copyright (Part 1 of 3)

People often ask how they can obtain copyright. The answer is simple – they need do nothing, it comes into existence by itself.

Copyright is an automatic statutory right providing the owner of the copyright legal protection for original work. The right is provided for various types of works, for example, novels, drawings, photographs and films (click here for a complete list of works).

It is, however, important that the work be original. It also needs to be in a material form. Consequently, there is no copyright in an idea.

The owner of a copyright is generally the author of the work but there are important exceptions. For example, the person who commissions the taking of a photograph, painting, drawing, film or sound recording is the owner of the copyright. In an employee-employer relationship, the employer will be the owner, provided that the work was done in the scope of employment. And for computer programs, the person exercising control over the making of a computer program will be the owner thereof.

The effect of copyright varies minutely depending on the type of work, but generally the holder of a copyright will exclusively be able to:

  • Reproduce the work in any form,
  • Publish the work,
  • Perform the work in public,
  • Broadcast the work,
  • Transmit the work in a diffusion service, and
  • Adapt the work.

For more information concerning copyright click here, or for specific questions, please contact us.

By Jak Erasmus (under the supervision of Rowan Joseph)