Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their
literary and artistic works.
kinds of works covered by copyright include: literary works such as
novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers and computer programs;
databases; films, musical compositions, and choreography; artistic works such as
paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture; architecture; and
advertisements, maps and technical drawings.
Rights Does Copyright Provide?
original creators of works protected by copyright, and their heirs, have
certain basic rights. They hold the exclusive right to use or
authorize others to use the work on agreed terms. The creator of a work can
prohibit or authorize:
reproduction in various forms, such as printed publication or sound
public performance, as in a play or musical work;
recordings of it, for example, in the form of compact discs, cassettes or
broadcasting, by radio, cable or satellite;
translation into other languages, or its adaptation, such as a
novel into a screenplay.
Many creative works protected by
copyright require mass distribution, communication and financial investment for
their dissemination (for example, publications, sound recordings and films);
hence, creators often sell the rights to their works to individuals or
companies best able to market the works in return for payment. These payments
are often made dependent on the actual use of the work, and are then referred to
economic rights have a time limit, according to the relevant WIPO
treaties, of 50 years after the creator's death. National law may establish
longer time-limits. This limit enables both creators and their heirs to benefit
financially for a reasonable period of time. Copyright protection also includes
moral rights, which involve the right to claim authorship of a work, and
the right to oppose changes to it that could harm the creator's reputation.
creator – or the owner of the copyright in a work – can enforce
rights administratively and in the courts, by inspection of premises for
evidence of production or possession of illegally made – "pirated" –
goods related to protected works. The owner may obtain court orders to stop such
activities, as well as seek damages for loss of financial rewards and
Ideas, Methods or Concepts Protected by Copyright?
According to the
WIPO Copyright Treaty, copyright protection extends only to expressions, and
not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such.
A field of rights related to
copyright has rapidly developed over the last 50 years. These related rights
grew up around copyrighted works, and provide similar, although
often more limited and of shorter duration, rights to:
performing artists (such as actors and musicians) in their performances;
producers of sound recordings (for example, cassette recordings and
compact discs) in their recordings;
broadcasting organizations in their radio and television programs.
Copyright and its related rights are essential to
by giving creators incentives in the form of recognition and fair
economic rewards. Under this system of rights, creators are assured
that their works can be disseminated without fear of unauthorized copying or
piracy. This in turn helps increase access to and enhances the enjoyment of
knowledge, and entertainment all over the world.
How Has Copyright
Kept Up With Advances in Technology?
The field of copyright and
related rights has expanded enormously
with the technological progress of the last several decades, which has
brought new ways of spreading creations by such forms of worldwide
communication as satellite broadcast and compact discs. Dissemination of
works via the Internet is but the latest development which raises new
questions concerning copyright. WIPO is deeply involved in the ongoing
international debate to shape new standards for copyright protection in
cyberspace. The organization administers the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO
Performances and Phonogram Treaty (often known together as the "Internet
Treaties"), which set down international norms aimed at preventing
unauthorized access to and use of
creative works on the Internet or other digital networks.
How Is Copyright
Regulated? Do You Need To Register To Be Protected?
Copyright itself does not depend on official procedures. A created
work is considered protected by copyright as soon as it exists. According to the
Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, literary and
artistic works are protected without any formalities in the countries party to
that Convention. Thus, WIPO does not offer any kind of copyright
However, many countries have a national
copyright office and some laws allow for registration of works for the
purposes of, for example, identifying and distinguishing titles of works. In
certain countries, registration can also serve as prima facie evidence in a
court of law with reference to disputes relating to copyright.
Many owners of creative works do not
have the means to pursue the legal and administrative enforcement of copyright,
especially given the increasingly worldwide use of literary, musical and
performance rights. As a result, the establishment of
collective management organizations or societies is a growing trend in
many countries. These societies can provide members the benefits of the
organization's administrative and legal expertise in, for example, collecting,
managing, and disbursing royalties gained from international use of a member's
What is copyright?
What is covered by
What rights does copyright
ideas, methods or concepts
What are rights related
Why protect copyright?
with advances in technology?
Do you need to register to be protected?
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