Ever written something that you believe nobody ever can, and should replicate? Well, your belief is justified.
Each of us is an artist in a different way. The work we publish is a reflection of our creativity and hard work and we deserve every tiny bit of credit for it.
This is where the concept of a copyright comes in. Copyright is a form of intellectual property, pertinent to all forms of creative work.
The law states copyright as the legal right granted to a creator by the law of his country allowing him to exercise the rights of distribution and use of his creation, for a limited period of time.
Quoting Johannes Rau, “Certainly the interest in asserting copyright is a justified one.”
Here are a few facts about this law.
1. The concept of copyright was first introduced in the 18th century.
The copyright law first originated in Britain in the 18th Century. It was passed by Charles II of England due to the unmonitored copying of books.
2. There are limitations to the copyright law.
The copyright law has certain limitations and exceptions that allow use of protected work without payment or prior permission of the creator. These limitations to the law vary from country to country depending on their economic and social conditions.
3. Ideas cannot be copyrighted.
The copyright law does not apply in cases of infringement of ideas or titles. It only holds good for recorded forms of creations. In the US, the section 102(b) of the copyright law clearly states,
“In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated or embodied in such work”
4. Copyright is a set of rights rather than just one.
It is a lesser known fact that the copyright is actually a set of rights. These rights are clearly explained in the US law, from sections 107 to 122. These rights are extended to all types of creative works and also deny public staging of these works without prior permission from the creator.
5. You do need to add the C symbol to explicitly show ownership.
Irrespective of whether the creator’s work bears the copyright notice or not, it is still copyrighted, and can be claimed by the creator.
6. Even an email is copyrighted.
Even works such as email have copyright protection as soon as they are sent. Thus, forwarding an email without the sender’s permission can be considered as infringement.
7. Copyrights can expire.
Copyright protection lasts for about 28 years. It can however be renewed for an additional period of 67 years, there by lasting for 95 years. However, once copyright protection expires, it becomes part of the public domain.
8. Not all items are copyrightable.
The copyright laws differ from country to country. As mentioned earlier, ideas are not protected by the copyright law. In US, the government works are not copyright protected but are instead listed under public domain.
9. Poor man’s copyright isn’t always effective.
The poor man’s copyright was an idea that started off in order to avoid paying the US government office to formally register one’s work. The creator instead mails a copy of his work to himself. In case of an issue, he may produce the copy that he mailed to himself as proof that he owned the rights to the document earlier than the other person did. This however, does not always prove to be useful.
10. The Chinese view plagiarism as a compliment rather than theft.