July 2015 | Scott Freidman

1. What is copyright?

Copyright is the legal right that the owner (usually the original author) has over creative works such as written words for example a book, music, photographs, films and computer programs.Copyright however, does not protect the underlying ideas behind the work. For example, if you write a romance novel, the text of the book is your copyright, so you can prevent others from reproducing your novel. However, you cannot prevent another person from writing about romance.

2. Do I need to register my copyright?

No, copyright protection in Australia is automatic and cannot be registered.The moment that an idea or creative piece of work is documented or written down, copyright exists over the work.

3. How long does copyright last?

For works prepared on or after 1 January 2005:

  • Books, plays and musical works – 70 years from the end of the year in which the author has died (if the works were published in the author’s lifetime);
  • Published sound recordings and films – 70 years from the end of the year from when the recording or film was published;
  • Artworks – the life of the artist plus 70 years.

For works that were published before 1 January 2005, please speak to us as the periods vary.

Written by Scott Freidman
(02) 9231 2466

If you think your copyright could be at risk, contact Scott Freidman on (02) 9231 2466 or sfreidman@hflawyers.com.au

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