Definition of Copyright

Copyright is broad in scope, but can be defined as an ‘exclusive right to copy’ for the individual credited to a particular work. A copyright is a legal concept and owners of a copyright by law have the right to determine who can use their registered work and who may adapt it. Individuals and companies seeking a copyright should enlist the guidance of a professional consultancy firm or attorney to ensure the application process in their jurisdiction of choice is completed in a timely, legal and cost effective manner.

The scope of copyrights

The owner of a copyright has complete control over who may use or adapt their work. As the legally recognized owner, individuals also benefit from all financial rewards gained from the copyright.

Where the owner permits a third party to use their copyright in a commercial capacity for economic return, there will usually be an agreement in place for the original owner to receive a percentage of the profits earned by the third party (commonly known as royalties).

Where a copyright is obtained in a particular jurisdiction, the rights associated with owning the copyright only apply within the boundaries of that territory. This essentially means that third parties in other countries may have the right to use, adapt, and make economic return from your copyright. It is therefore important to obtain copyrights in all regions where the work has potential to reap economic rewards. Many jurisdictions have international agreements with other countries, which mean that copyright protection will apply in all countries party to the same international agreement.

Qualifying for a copyright can be a complex and relatively gray area, thus it is advised for individuals to consult with a professional advisor to ensure that their creative work meets the specific criteria as outlined by the applicable intellectual property registry in their country of domicile.