Copyright FAQ

What is Copyright – Copyright is form of protection for original works i.e intellectual creations products of the human mind. Copyright protects all kind of creative works only if they are created by a human being as a result of its effort and skills.The work is protected by copyright from the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible/material form and there is no special paperwork required for obtaining copyright protection. Anything unmaterialized and unrecorded is not copyrightable.The copyright holder can prevent others to use his work (in any form like performing, copying, adapting, all ways of making available to the public etc) without his consent. The copyright legal protection is designed as a reward to creators to encourage further intellectual creativity and innovation, on the other hand to easily enable access for the community to the intellectual property products.

Basics of Copyright Law – The Copyright law is legal protection given to the creators for their original creation to encourage future creativity and the development of new material which benefits the society in general. The copyright law itself serve as an incentive to encourage the creator with a financial benefit, on the other side aims at promoting the access to knowledge. The protection lasts the whole author’s life plus 70 years after the creator’s death and the sole work is considered copyrightable directly after its completion. It is noteworthy to mention that there is no age limit for copyright protection; in particular minor’s work also enjoys copyright protection. The basic principle under the copyright law is that only the creator is authorized to decide what happens with his work and his exclusive rights are twofold- material and moral. The Nonetheless to fulfill the second purpose- easier access to knowledge the copyright law embodies certain limitations and exceptions that validate the ground for which an idea expression can be subject to a monopoly.

Works Protected by Copyrights – The Copyright law in general protects expressions of an idea fixed in a material form i.e ideas embodied in written literary works (novels, poetry works, plays, speeches) musical works (all types of musical compositions) and pantomimic works (body movements), choreographic works (dance), photographic and artistic works (paintings, drawings, maps, charts, sculptures) architectural works (building plans) and cinematographic works (films, videos), computer programmes and databases. Derivative works i.e work that is based upon another work, such as translations and adaptations of a work, new formulations or digitized editions, remixing a previously released music, creating a sequel to a film using characters from the original are also protected under copyright law.

Can I protect a name, slogan title, character, concept with copyright?
Certain things does not qualify for copyright protection. Among them are:
Names (first names and surnames) are not protected by copyright law. The primarily focus of the names is protecting the competitor of using the name in the trade. Nevertheless, some names may be protected under trademark law.

The same applies for titles of a book, popular slogans, and short phrases. If copyright is applied to the titles that would mean that anyone that uses the title can be in breach of copyright, Moreover, copyright also prohibits unauthorised adaptations and any modification or derived words, will fall under copyright. This leads to the effect that no one can use this document in a copyright. The core aim of copyright is to support creative authorship and it is not designed to protect how that work is identified in the market. The same goes for people and places. Short phrases of this kind and slogans hardly meet the minimum level of creativity and originality to be under copyright protection.
Concepts and ideas do not qualify for protection except that they are materialized within a specific impression (embodiment) via screenplays, plays, plays etc. The sole existence of loglines, character notions, themes, verbal pitches do not enjoy protection.
Fictional characters and story lies are copyrighted if they are original. unique and substantial enough to be awarded copyright protection.

What is not copyrightable (copyright exceptions) – Preconditions for copyright protection are expression of an idea and this idea fixed in a tangible form. Therefore, everything not fixed in a tangible form and ideas as such are not copyrightable. Likewise, the copyright does not protect: theories, mathematical and methods, concepts or principles, procedures, processes or discoveries. Moreover, it is not protectable under copyright law, work that consists only of well known information (telephone dictionaries, notebooks), official texts from juridical, political, administrative or legislative nature and their translations. Other category among the copyright exceptions include news with only normal medium character, well known information and facts. Works that are not copyrightable are also the works which duration has expired. This moreover means that after the ascertained period of 70 years the work can be freely used. (eg. Mona Lisa with moustaches is not breach of the right because the legal rights and remedies have expired. Nevertheless the new,derivative work itself is under copyright protection)

Copyright limitations – To comply with copyright law, one must receive permission from the copyright holder or pay remuneration before using any protected content.
However, there are cases where the the copyright law is not to such extent applicable due to some more important social interests as freedom of speech (using work for criticism, review, parody, reporting only if it is fair use) educational uses (teaching in classrooms), and among the exceptions is reproduction only for private and other personal uses. In any of the cases, precondition is that the exploitation shall not conflict with a the normal exploitation of the work and shall not be used for gaining any commercial benefit. Moreover, in detail, the limitations include: making copies of the work only with the aim to transfer data; multiplication of the work done by libraries or educational institutions, museums or archives without any economic and commercial benefit; using works with illustrational or educational purpose or scientific researches; work that is intended to be used by a person with invalidity for non commercial purpose; using protected work works only with proper citation; using the work in the judicial, administrative and legislative procedure; using public speeches to a degree that justifies its purpose; etc.

Scope and duration of Copyright Protection – Depending of the copyrighted work the owner has exclusive rights indeed legal right to stop others of using his property without his permission. Rights, generally recognized by all law traditions that belong to the author are material and moral rights. The common and most prominent rights with material or economic benefit are the exclusivity to: reproduce the work in any manner or form, perform the work in public, distribute copies or displaying the copyrighted work publicly, broadcasting or other communication publicly, translation of the work in other languages, adaptations, modifications etc. Worth to mention in this context are the new forms of communication to the public (e.g. broadcasting, cable retransmission, making available to the public) This, moreover means that the owner may also authorize others to exercise these rights. Moral rights are alienable and basically protect the integrity of the work and relationship between the work and the author. In defining the scope of the copyright is also the core role play the established exceptions (what can not be protected at all ) and copyright limitations (special cases to use a protected work but only if it does not conflict the the author’s legitimate interests). As with regards to the duration, The copyright lasts during the whole life of the creator and the protection expires 70 years of the author’s death. In case of joint authors the protection expires after the death of the last surviving author. As for the anonymous and pseudonymous works they enjoy copyright protection 70 years since they have been lawfully made available to the public.

Copyright Holders and work for hire – Author is always considered the creator of the work. If multiple authors have jointly created the work, they are all considered as creators of the work with regards to their respective contributions. Nevertheless, on the author’s discretion, copyrighted works can be lawfully and freely transferable as property via giving license. Worth mentioning is the fact that only the material rights can be willingly transferred, whereas the same does not apply for the moral rights. A humble exception from the presumption that the author is the creator of the work is the doctrine – work for hire. In this specific situation, the creation of the piece is often on behalf of another. This concept includes cases when an employee creates work within his employment responsibilities, or a person creates a work as a result of its contractual obligation or service relations or, proceeding on the same track, the issue when the work is been specially ordered, or commissioned for use. In case of work for hire contracts, the original author is not legally recognized as an author of the work, and the rights wholly belong to the one who commissioned and paid for the work (eg. commission pieces from famous composers). In case the work has been done in scope of one’s employment duties, the employer is owner of the work. The reasoning behind is that the work is done as part of the creator’s job, yet following some instructions and under supervision and in some case even using the commissioner resources and facilities. In all jurisdictions the authorship of a instructed work is granted only with an existence of a written contract between the parties.

Copyright and other types of Intellectual Property – Copyright is one part of the broad category that fell under the umbrella of the intellectual property indeed different types of protection available for IP rights. Copyright protects original work only fixed on material object and the protection lasts 70 years after the author’s death. On the other hand there are other rights that are created by the human mind that have different scope and diverse duration period. Particularly, Patent law protects inventions, if they are original, if they have an inventive step and are recognized for some form of practical industrial application. The patent protection lasts 20 years from its filing date and can not be renewed. Trademark law protects signs that are used to distinguish one business from another and to identify particular good or service. Trademarks do not have an expiration period if they are constantly renewed properly. Industrial design protects the visual design of the objects i.e the appearance or aesthetic feature of the product. Inicial industrial design protection last 5 years and it can be renewed, every 5 years yet the maximum term of protection is 25 years from the filing date. Trade secrets are any business information that companies keep private to give them a business advantage over their competitors(eg. recipe, formula or design to a device, piece of software or general know-how ) and they are not registered anywhere.
Nonetheless, although there is a disparity between all different types of intellectual property rights, they overlap to a certain extent and have many things in common. Firstly, they all protect creations of the human mind and provide adequate property protection to incentivize investment in innovation and creativity. The different term of protection is estimated and based on the potential benefit for the public. Nevertheless, nowaday due to the expansion in scope of the IP rights, it can come that some rights protect same works, still with divergent term of protection. For this also speaks the fact that it is permissible to protect different aspects of a product or creation under different bodies of IP.Copyright and Patent law protect creations that originally could be protected with industrial design.Classic example is that almost anything, including a specific characteristic of a product, can potentially be a trademark today if it signals to consumers that the product comes from a specific producer or seller.

Notice of Copyright – Notice of copyright has only informative nature, i.e this institut notifies the public that a certain work is protected by copyright; explicitly showing since when the duration protection has begun. The notice primarily consists of an sign – the symbol © (the letter C in a circle), placed on a work. For phonorecords the symbol ℗ is used. A copyright notice (i.e. ©) is generally not required for a work to be protected by copyright law nonetheless, using it confers certain benefits to the copyright holder. The notice basically consists of three elements: the copyright symbol, the year of first publication and the copyright owner.
eg. © year of publication, copyright owner.
Moreover, it is quite common for more throughout protection to insert statements as All rights reserved; or Reproduction is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged.
The notice is always affixed to the copies that are visually perceptible (eg.literary works) and when it comes to works when it is impractical for a notice to be added, it shall be placed on a spot that should not be concealed from view upon reasonable observation.

Copyright infringement – Infringement is any kind of unauthorised use of copyrighted work. The sole infringement act, in substance consists of violation of one or more of the exclusive rights that only the author alone can exploit legally. The most common one are: the right to reproduce (copy) a work(infringement is when someone else and not the author multiplies the work eg. making illegal copies ) ; the right to create derivative works based upon it( compose sequels of a novel, mixing previous published music, generally everything that uses work that is earlier done); the right to distribute copies of the work to the public; the right to publicly display or perform the work. Therefore the most frequent forms of infringement are closely linked to those exclusive rights in particular typically referred as i.e unauthorised copying of protected content to a work that is distributed to the public (commonly known as piracy), all diverse types of digital reproduction including downloading on the internet; file sharing, photocopying when it comes to protected printed material. In technological era, encompassing the legal and technological measures by which a work is protected is also considered as infringement.
Similar violation to copyright infringement is the plagiarism and although they two overlap, they also have key differences. Plagiarism – concerns mostly literary works and is commonly known is presenting someone else’s work as your own. In this category falls copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit to the author or not properly indicating the source of the information, wrong quotation etc. Many plagiarisms are copyright infringement, nevertheless not all not all plagiarisms are infringements and not all infringements are plagiarisms. Plagiarism often covers things that are not covered by copyright. Ideas, facts and general elements can be plagiarized, yet can not be copyrighted. Getting permission to use a work can not qualify as copyright infringement,still it could be plagiarism is the work is presented as its own.

Copyrights and the Internet – The Copyright protection is mildly said, facing new challenges when it comes to new technologies and the infringements are more frequently done wia the new technologies. The information that is free available on the internet does not mean that it is free to copy. All electronic materials are easier to access, copy and distribute via networks. Therefore there are not many instructions that shall be followed for better protection on the internet if you are the copyright owner. (eg. register copyright of photos or text; insert copyright notice adjacent to image and text, disable the function double click to easily save the content, or in case of literary work, use the function only preview, use monitoring tools and metadata to search for the infringer, etc).
Other practical instructions would be: If you express ideas in your own words, always give appropriate credit to the sources when you take an an idea or facts,yet it might be considered as derivative works unless one have obtained license or permission. It is safe to say that the pictures on internet are generally covered by copyright, although they are made available to the public. If the owner offers a license(either free or for a fee), one should comply with the license and the rules in it. Making covers of a song is allowed if the fees are paid.

Advantages of Registering Your Copyright – The copyright protection is automatically created upon the completion of an original work, fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Nevertheless, the registration provides many extra benefits and additional remedies, post factum, in case of infringement. Apropos to this, registration mean, per se, evidence of your ownership and the work itself can be easily found by third parties and efficiently authenticated. The process of registration, per se, could be seen as additional protection because it facilitates the court procedure in case of infringement. There is no exact time limit for registration and the registration can happen anytime during this period of 70 years after the creator’s death. Another advantage is in case of infringement any defendant’s assertion about lack of knowledge that the work is protected claiming that it is an innocent and negligible infringement, does not bear relevance for the Court proceeding, as the foundation lies in the registration process as additional guarantee of authorship.


A glossary on Copyright

Adaptations and transformation – common types of a derivative work indeed a new version of an already existing work. That refers to a new creation that relies on an earlier protected work; hence, the second work becomes original work with independent copyright. Substantial change to the previous work is required for protection and it always go along with a prior consent of the creator of the original work.

Anonymous work – Work that i published with an undisclosed, unknown creator or author or the author’s name in some way is not acknowledged. The copyright protection shall expire after 70 years after the work has been lawfully made available to the public.

Architecture work – An original design of a building created in any tangible medium of expression, including a constructed building or architectural plans, models, or drawings, is also subject to copyright protection. In essence, protected is the overall form as well as the arrangement and composition of space and elements in the design. In this regard, the there are specific rules that apply when it comes to determining the author in case of joint participation.

Artistic works – Any are particularly graphic works that includes mainly paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures and collages. Those works enjoy copyright protection and as alike all other their works their owners have exclusive rights with regards to this goods, i.e to reproduce, publish and communicate to the public.

Audiovisual work – The official definition is that these are works that consist of a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines, or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment, together with accompanying sounds, if any, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as films or tapes, in which the works are embodied. Audiovisual work are protectable under copyright law. This, per se, means that the term “audiovisual works” refers broadly to any work that includes any series of related visual images, whether or not moving, and with or without sounds, as long as a machine or device is essential to the viewing of the related series of images.

Author – person that is the creator of the work and it is always natural person. In case of several person jointly creating a work, without possibility to separate the respective shares, they are joint authors. Exception: author is not the creator of the work itself if the work is commissioned for ordered for use.

Berne Convention for the Protection of literary and artistic works – The most important international treaty regarding the copyright law, with the idea to set a minimum harmonized standards aiming to protect the creator of the work. Came in force on September 9, 1886 in Berne, Switzerland. In essence, the Berne Convention clearly distinguishes the various types of works that could be copyrighted and establishes principles that shall be applicable in any county regardless where the work originate from. Moreover, the Convention clearly incorporates stronger author’s rights and reduces the protection formalities. Administered by WIPO.

Choreographic works – Choreographic works consist of composition and arrangement of movements indeed dance with the idea to be performed together with music.Their purpose is to be organized coherently and to present aggregated whole. Choreographic works also enjoy copyright protection and the performer is the one owning the rights.

Cinematographic works – Subcategory of an audiovisual work namely any work that embodies visual recording supported by a moving image on any medium. A typical example of cinematographic works is the movies and the produces is considered as author of the work. The others from the film crew (cameraman, actor, screenwriter, composer) have their individual right on their performance.

Collective work – is a joint work consisting of several separate existing material that are assembled into one which, as such is as a whole enjoys copyright protection . As a rule every consisting part of a collective work is, by any means copyrightable as individual element. Notable to many are the collective works such as encyclopedia, periodical issue etc.

Copyright – is intellectual property protection of an original work fixed on material object from being reproduced without the owner’s consent. Several requirements apply: the work has to be done by a person (works done by nature itself or animal works can not be copyrighted) as a result of the creator’s effort and skills and to be fixed in a material form.

Copyright Infringement – Unauthorised use of copyrighted work. The sole infringement act consists of copying, distributing or adapting a work without permission. The most frequent forms of infringement are unauthorised copying of protected content to a work that is distributed to the public, all diverse types of digital reproduction including downloading on the internet; photocopying when it comes to protected printed material. In technological era, encompassing the legal and technological measures to protect a work is also considered to be infringement.

Copyright symbols – The symbol © (the letter C in a circle) is usually used to denote copyright protection. The sign ℗, (P in a circle) refers to sound recording, phone records and phonogram. The permanent usage of the signs is not required for a work to be protected, moreover its function is only informative to present that a work enjoys copyright protection.

Databases – generally rest under the concept of trademark compilation and are also protected by copyright law. The protection of the databases is granted due to the systematic and methodical way they are arranged, if the whole work manifest certain level of originality.

Derivative works – work that is based upon another work; notwithstanding crucial is the latter work to embody the new author’s originality. Derivative work include all various adaptations of a work such as adaptations, translations, remixing previously released music, creating a sequel to a film etc. Editorial revisions, elaborations and modifications also belong in this category. Generally derivative work require prior permission of the right holder.

Duration of copyright – Copyright protection is secured automatically and is protected as soon as it exists, based generally on the life of the author plus with an extension from 70 years of the death of the creator. With respect to joint authors the copyright expires after the death of the last surviving author.

Exceptions – known as limitations of the copyright protection.In this category fall: criticism,parody, satire, reporting, person research or study, using works in judicial proceedings and works that help to enable more easily access to people with disabilities. These exceptions are known under the fair use doctrine in certain states. Other exceptions are using without remuneration for education purposes, public speeches, quotation, for private and other personal use in particular the main criteria for assessment the limitations are if the usage of the work by a third party not serve for a gaining a commercial interest and profit.

Joint work – work prepared by two or more individual without possibility for the parts of the authors to be individually isolated and besides, separately exploited. The protection depends on the author’s involvement and each joint author has protection to the extent of his/her contribution.

Literary works – Fundamentally, literary works are works intended to be read; they are not intended to be performed before an audience and generally their core idea is expressed in writing, through the use of narrative, descriptive, or explanatory text all works regardless whether they have literary merit. Standard literary works are: novels, manuscripts, reports, poems, articles, essays, speeches etc.

Material/ exploitation rights – Rights that can exclusively depend on the authors disposition how to use the work or whether to prevent others from using it without permission. The exploitation rights generally tend to enable the creator the right to use, to authorize use of, to set conditions or to prohibit use of the work. Only the creator has the right t use and reproduce the work, make the work available to the public, via recitation, performance and presentation …etc. Public is deemed anyone who is not connected by a personal relationship with the person exploiting the work. In any reverse case the owner can report the violation and ask for compensation. Nonetheless, the exclusive rights are time limited rights and after the period the work is in public domain.

Moral rights – Permanently linked rights to the creator that shows the link between the creator and the work. These rights perpetually belong to the author even if the author transfer the work because they are considered as reward for his/her creative input. This class of rights is composed of: right to claim authorship of the work, the right, moreover freedom to decide about publishing the work or not, right to prohibit any changes and modifications that will distort his work.

Musical works – Work that consists of music,composition or any melodies and harmonies, including any accompanying words and arrangement of instruments. The author of a musical composition is generally the composer and the lyricist. Musical works enjoy copyright protection.

Pantomimic works – The are also works that could be copyrightable. Pantomime is any act indeed the sole act of imitating, presenting, or acting out situations, characters, or events through the use of physical gestures and body movements. Pantomime as well as the other works has to have a story and to be fixed in a tangible medium in order to be protected and the author is the one performing the work.

Phonogram/Sound recordings – Phonograms are letter of combination or combination that represent a sound. Unlike works of the nature or animal works, animal and nature sounds are eligible to be copyrighted by the person who record them (eg. animal noises, ocean waves etc). Phonograms are copyrightable if they their performance or the other sounds is fixed on a medium. The phonogram producers have, as well as the author, has an exclusive right to grant a licence for the direct or indirect reproduction of the whole or a part of the phonogram, and to the distribution of the original or copies of the phonograms. The graphic symbol ℗ ; P-in-a-circle- stands for phonogram.

Plagiarism – concerns mostly literary works and is commonly known is presenting someone else’s work as your own. In this category falls copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit to the author or not properly indicating the source of the information, wrong quotation etc.

Pseudonymous work – Work where the author’s identity is provided as a fictitious name i.e does not include the author’s actual identity but rather another name. Pseudonyms date long time ago when the art was banned and nowadays are adopted to hide the author’s real identity.

Public domain – Under public domain falls any work that is available to the public, indeed everything that can be freely used by anyone. In light of this, Works in public domain basically refer to works that can not be protected at all(exceptions of copyright protection), or works after the expiration of the copyright protection. Anyone can use a work in public domain without obtaining permission.

Public performance – any act or displaying the work in front of many people that are in no way related with the work itself. Performance is generally, considered as “public” if it take place in a public place and the audience is outside of a normal circle of friends and family. The rights of performance includes public reading of literary works, public performance of music, scenographic or any performance of choreographic or pantomimic works.

Right as an author – The legal institute copyright enables two exclusive rights that always follow the author. Those are material/exploitation rights and moral rights. The material rights are always linked to a financial reward moreover benefit and moral rights protect the non economic interests. In light of this material rights are authorization or prohibition of • reproduction of the work in various forms (such as printed publications or sound recordings) • distribution of copies of the work • public performance of the work • broadcasting or other communication of the work to the public • translation of the work into other languages • adaptation of the work, such as turning a novel into a screenplay. Moral rights only allow authors and creators to take certain actions to preserve and protect their link with their work. Only the material rights can be transferred to a third party.

Royalties – amount paid to the creator resulting from the sale or performance of the work. In general, revenues are paid to the legal owner by those who use the work for generating revenue.

Scope of copyright – The scope of protection generally depends on the kind of the protected work i.e the author has exclusive right to reproduce the work, prepare derivative works based upon the work, distribute copies of the work to the public, perform the work publicly (for music,play, dance, motion, pictures), display the copyrighted work publicly (paintings, sculptures, photographs). Perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission (in the case of sound recordings). The owner may also authorize others to exercise these rights by giving license for effect of one or several of this rights.

Work for hire – This concept objective is the specific situation when an employee creates work within his employment responsibilities or the issue when the work is specially ordered or commissioned for use. In case of work for hire patterns, the author is not considered as creator of the work but rather the owner is the one who commissioned and paid for the work. In case the work has been done in scope of one’s employment duties, the employer is owner of the work.