What can be a copyright

A copyright forms one of the main areas of intellectual property and offers protection and rights for intellectual properties that are considered a form of expression. Generally a copyright will include a specific symbol on the property – C inside a circle – and this demonstrates to competitors and all third parties that the intellectual property has been official registered as a copyright. If you wish to register you intellectual property as a copyright or to obtain more information on what constitutes a copyright, you are advised to seek advice from a consultancy firm that is experienced in intellectual property.

Types of copyright explained

Not all artistic works can be a copyright, for example, a book that details a brand new invention will only be covered in terms of the content of the book. The idea of the invention itself will not be covered and nor will the title of the book as these rights are covered under patents and trademarks respectively.

A copyright is considered anything that is an expression however it must be available and original to use. This can be ascertained by conducting a copyright search to find out if your copyright is registered or similar to one that is registered.

What constitutes a copyright can be found in the scope of the Copyright Act 1976. Under this act, a copyright can be a literary, musical or dramatic work and can include such intellectual properties as architectural works and sound recordings.

Unlike patents that are a registered intangible asset, a copyright can only be registered once if takes the form of a tangible property. For example an idea for a song will not be registered but once the song is drafted on paper and is in a tangible form it can then seek copyright.

The main areas of copyrights include:

  • Literary works – books, periodicals, films, discs, manuscripts and computer programs.
  • Musical and dramatic works – compositions, stage plays, televisions plays, motion pictures, pantomimes and audiovisual works.
  • Pictorial, graphic and sculptural works – fine art, applied and graphic art, photographs, prints, maps, diagrams, sculptures, statues.
  • Sound recordings – Music spoken work and sound effects