You may be considering having your work protected by copyright. But what categories are not eligible for copyright protection under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)?

What is Copyright?

In the simplest terms, copyright is a group of rights that are granted exclusively to your creative work. Copyright protection is generally afforded to numerous types of works including books, paintings, sketches, blueprints, scripts, storyboards, sound recordings (voice or musical), graphic designs and building models or sitemaps. Copyright protection enables you to reproduce the material and, if applicable, the right to perform or show the work publicly. A couple of things to note are that copyright exists immediately once you create a work and is free. That means you will not have to register the creative work because it is automatically protected as soon as the material has been produced into writing or film etc.

What is not protected by Copyright?

The good news is you will not have to go through the trouble of registering the work for copyright protection with any organisation. But what types of creative works are excluded from copyright protection? Basically, copyright protection does not apply to concepts, ideas, techniques or styles. For copyright protection to apply, you must prove that you expressed your idea or concept physically or digitally. For instance, your idea for a new novel will not be protected by copyright, but if you have written a draft, it will be eligible for copyright protection. Similarly, the overall ‘sense’ of a creative work is generally not protected by copyright.

Also, it is important to understand that copyright is different to property rights. An individual may physically own a piece of artwork or photograph, for instance, but that does also not mean that they also own the copyright of the work unless it has been expressly assigned.

Names, Slogans and Titles

Generally, names and slogans are too insignificant to warrant copyright protection. Single phrases or headlines, for instance, are unlikely to be protected.

A Person’s Image

Usually, people and their image is not protected by copyright. However, depending on the circumstances, other areas of law may apply such as consumer law.

Conclusion

In summary, the key consideration here is whether you have translated your ideas into a material form (physical or digital). If you have for example, created a storyboard of your new film concept, copyright protection generally exists. If you have simply formed an idea in your mind, however, it is not eligible for copyright protection. Therefore, if you are in the initial stages of developing your new creative work, it is best to keep that information to yourself for the time being! You would deeply regret having someone else profit off of your own idea merely because you told them about it.

What does this mean for me?

When dealing with your creative works and the associated copyright protection, it is best to seek the legal advice from a specialist IP lawyer. This will ensure your works are properly protected by copyright, giving you legitimate legal standing if infringements do occur.

A lawyer at LegalVision will gladly assist you with your copyright protection, so do not hesitate to call us 1300 544 755.

Lachlan McKnight

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