There are ten really important questions to know the answers to first before working with copyrights. This is important know-how for those truly innovative individuals, articulate, and artistic. The ten questions to be asked are:
(1) What is a copyright?
(2) How does a copyright apply, and to what?
(3) Who owns the copyright?
(4) How to obtain a copyright?
(5) Do you have to do anything to get protection?
(6) What are the benefits of having copyright protection?
(7) How to register a copyright?
(8) Is it necessary to mark a work with a notice of copyright?
(9) What is copyright infringement?
(10) Can libraries or schools make copies of parts of books or articles for their students?
(1) What is a copyright? A copyright is the exclusive rights assigned to a particular work, in which allows copying rights to someone else, or a party willing to pay a fee to use the work in question. Copyright protection is more common with those in the artistic community, i.e. music, literary published work. This could also include performances, sound recordings, as well communication signals. By acquiring copyright exclusivity, this gives the creator of the work the ability to then publish, or to make reproductions of their work. A Canadian copyright for example, a Canadian writer, is valid in international communities, as long as the nation in question is an established member of an international copyright agreement (treaty). A copyright in Canada is valid for the author’s life length, and coupled with an additional 50 year period after the authors death.
(2) How does a copyright apply, and to what? Copyrights apply to all original works, whether musical, literary, or artistic. This includes books, paintings, sculptures, films, photographs, television, and computer programs. Copyright protection does cover ideas, themes, catchphrases, and or short word combinations with no meaning.
(3) Who owns the copyright? The owner of the copyright is the eligible party, but other parties may be the copyright holders including those of:
+A party the original owner has transferred the works rights to
+The innovator/creator of the work in question
+The innovators/creators employer, if stipulated as part of an employment contract
+The party responsible for commissioning the work (which has been paid to produce the work)
(4) How to obtain a copyright? Copyright rights are automatically assigned to the creator of the original work.
(5) Do you have to do anything to get protection? You do not need to do anything to get protection. Instantly upon the creation of the work you are protected by your nation’s copyright laws. It is sometimes necessary to mark your work with a notice of copyright, upon registering the copyright first.
(6) What are the benefits of having copyright protection? Once the copyright is registered, a certificate will be issued to the creating party, outlining the rights of the owner, and who the creation belongs to. The certificate is issued, in case legal matters were to arise questioning the acclaim of one given party over the creations ownership.
(7) How to register a copyright? In order to get a copyright registered, an application must be submitted to the nations Copyright Office, as well pay all the applicable fees. This application could be submitted through writing, or can be done electronically. The process can take up to a couple of weeks. Fees include the application, registration, as well the issuance of a original certificate. This is often a one time fee, and as time goes on no new additional fees will be added.
(8) Is it necessary to mark a work with a notice of copyright? This is not necessary for copyright protection in Canada. However, the works creator must mark the work with a small copyright symbol, ©.
(9) What is copyright infringement? It is the illegal use of copyrighted works. This is largely achieved through plagiarism, or passing off someone else’s work as their own.
(10) Can libraries or schools make copies of parts of books or articles for their students? Libraries and schools are not allowed to make unapproved copies of a creators work, unless they obtain the copyright holders permission to reproduce the work. The copyright Act does however; allow certain violations, when works are used during a private study or research.
Knowles, Ron. (2004) Small Business: An Entrepreneurs Plan. Thomson and Nelson. Fourth Canadian Edition