Overview of Copyright Law
Copyright law is an important intellectual property right that protects an author’s and a business’s creative work from unauthorized use. Copyright is granted to authors of “original works of authorship”, which can be literary, audio-visual, musical, or computer-related works. It also includes artwork, photos, and all forms of creative expression. Copyright provides exclusive rights for the author or owning business, allowing them to be the only ones to benefit from, control, and profit off their works.
The term of copyright protection typically lasts through the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. To receive a copyright, the author must register the material with the appropriate national registering agency.
Copyright in the Digital Age
The internet has not changed the basic structure of copyright, nor has it abolished it. Its purpose is still to protect artists from unauthorized use and distribution. In the digital age, people have more ways than ever to misuse copyright laws for their own gain, such as selling illegal copies of movies, music, and books.
What has shifted though, is the way content is shared. Before the internet, copyright enforcement had to rely on physical and analog distribution. Today, digital copies are just as valuable and can be much faster and more cost-effective to distribute.
Businesses need to make sure they’re adequately protecting their creative material from unauthorized use. It’s important to be aware of different platforms being used to transfer, store, and share information and aim to protect the company’s intellectual property.
Copyright Infringement and Its Implications
A copyright infringement occurs when someone uses a copyrighted work without permission from the copyright holder. It’s important to understand both the economic and legal implications of copyright infringement. In a business setting, copyright infringement may result in substantial legal fees and costly issues within the supply chain.
However, not all unauthorized use is considered an infringement. A copyright ceases to exist when a work is in “the public domain” which means it no longer has copyright protection. That said, it can still be important to seek advice before using a work that might be in the public domain.