Matt Dixon (Partner) gives expert video advice on: What works does copyright protect?; Does copyright protect my ideas as well?; How do I prove that the work is my own? and more...
What works does copyright protect?
Copyright protects a wide range of works. It'll protect artistic works, for example paintings and works of sculpture. It'll protect literary works, so books and things like that and memos even. It'll also protect musical works. It protects things like broadcasts, computer programs, and a whole range of things.
Does copyright protect my ideas as well?
You can't copyright an idea. Copyright protects the expression of an idea, so the words that you used for example in a literary worked to describe an idea, but it doesn't protect that idea itself. So, if someone described the same thing in their own words without copying yours, then you have no right against them.
Do I need to register my copyright?
No, there's no need to register your copyright, in the UK at least, because it's an automatic right that arises as soon as you've created an original work.
Can I sell my copyrights?
Yes, you can sell your copyrights in the same way that you can assign or license any other kind of intellectual property rights.
How long does copyright last for?
Copyright lasts for a very long time, much longer than other intellectual property rights. It lasts for the life of the author, plus seventy years for most kinds of works. And with some kinds of works, like sound recordings, it's fifty years from the date the sound recording was made.
Is it illegal to copy music and distribute it even if I am not making money out of it?
Yes. If you're making copies of a musical work, then it's an infringement of copyright.
Does copyright give me monopoly rights?
No, copyright is not a monopoly right. It's a copyright. You have to show that someone has copied your work. If they came up with exactly the same thing independently, although it's very unlikely, if they came up with it independently, then it wouldn't be an infringement of your copyright.