Copyright is a basic right granted to creators of literary and artistic works to enable them receive financial reward and recognition for their creative efforts. This right exclusively empowers creators to have control over their works and thus they alone or their heirs can authorize or prohibit the use of their works by others. The creator of a work of copyright enjoys a bundle of rights that are broadly classified into two distinct categories namely: (1) Economic rights (2) Moral rights
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.
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.
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.
Ghana has a system of voluntary registration of copyright works. Registration is recommended for a number of reasons: (1) to keep records of works; (2) to publicize the rights of the owners; (3) to give evidence of ownership and authentication of intellectual property.
It is also advisable to register because the Copyright Office serves as a depository and in the unlikely event that the author runs out or loses copies of his/her own work, he/she can rely on the copies submitted to the office.
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.
Copyright protection is territorial just as many other forms of intellectual property. This basically means that if protection is granted in one country, the protection does not extend beyond the boundaries of that country. If protection is desired in another country, the author must take necessary steps to seek for protection in accordance with the provisions of the laws of that country.
However, by virtue of International Treaties and Conventions (such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works), Ghana has an obligation to grant protection to works which are of foreign origin and are specifically coming from Berne Member States. Similarly works that are of Ghanaian origin should be granted protection in all other Berne Member States. The Berne Convention currently has a total of 176 countries as Contracting Parties.
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.
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.
No! Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, concepts, methods of doing things and things of similar nature. Much as Copyright protects original expressions of ideas, it does not protect the underlying idea or concept. For instance the ‘thought’ of painting a sunset at the beach cannot be protected by copyright but an actual painting of a sunset is protected. This gives room for several authors to express the same thought (or idea) in diverse ways. If done independently, no two painters’ painting of a sunset will be exactly the same! Each one of them then, is entitled to copyright protection in their separate versions of painting of a sunset.
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.