How long does Copyright Protection Last?
If authored by a single individual, copyright protection lasts during the life of the author (or rightsholder) plus 70years after death of the author.
If jointly authored by two or more individuals, copyright protection lasts 70years after the death of the last surviving author.
If the rightsholder is a company (a body corporate), copyright protection subsists 70years from either the date of creation of the work or the publication date of the work, whichever is the later.
What Does Copyright Protect?
Copyright protects original works of authorship which are literary or artistic in nature such as poetry, novels, textbooks, movies, documentaries, songs, logos, paintings, sculptures, computer software, architectural designs, among many other forms of works.
What is the Difference Between Copyright, Patent and Trademark?
Copyright protects original works of authorship. The work must not be an abstract idea or concept but must have been reduced (expressed) into a tangible medium. Patent is the form of intellectual property right that protects inventions. Whereas copyright does not protect ideas or concepts, patent protects ideas embodied in an invention which solves a certain technical problem. The invention must meet three key criteria namely (1) must be new (or novel); (2) must have an inventive step (i.e. must be non-obvious) and (3) must have industrial applicability. Patent protection can cover a product (a physical object) or a process (for producing the product).
A trademark refers to any inscription (or mark) that is used by one undertaking (or company) to distinguish its products or services from those of other companies. A trademark could be a word, a number, combination of words and numbers, phrases, symbols, designs, sounds or even smells. A trademark suggests the source of a product or service which helps consumers to make their choice of a product they want to buy. The key requirement in registering a trademark is that the mark must be unique, distinctive and not descriptive of the product or service for which it is used to identify.
Unlike copyright which does not require registration for protection, the owner of a patent or a trademark generally must register before he/she can enforce his/her rights. Certain trademarks, however, are classified as “well known marks” and do not need to be registered for protection.
How Do I Get Copyright Protection for My Work?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible medium that makes it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
Do I Need Copyright Registration To Protect My Work?
No. In general copyright protection is attained automatically the moment the work is created. Since protection does not depend on registration, a creator does not need to register his/her work. In some jurisdictions however, registration is required if the author wishes to bring a lawsuit against someone for infringement in connection with his/her work.