Why Copyright Matters to You
What is Copyright?
Copyright is a form of intellectual property right which gives creators and producers of creative works the right to prevent or allow other people to use their creative works in certain ways for a limited period of time. Copyright protection is automatic and does not require registration.
If you have ever written an essay, drawn a picture, recorded a song, choreographed a dance, or made a film, you automatically have copyright in your creation, and you can use it to prevent others from dealing with your creation without your permission.
In general, the rights that you will have as a copyright owner cover the right to copy, publish, perform, communicate (whether through broadcasting or over the Internet), and adapt your works. These exclusive rights form the bundle of rights that we call copyright.
Why does Copyright matter to you?
Copyright is everywhere around us. The news you read, the photos you take, the music you listen to, or the videos you watch online, are all protected by copyright. Copyright affects what we can do with the creative work we come across, whether it’s for work or play, profit or non-profit, amateur or professional. Copyright affects everyone.
For that reason, it is important for copyright regimes to balance between providing exclusive rights as an incentive to create and disseminate new creative works, and appropriate access to those works for other creators and for society.
- Creators. If you are a creator of original works (such as an author, artist, photographer, programmer, film-maker, choreographer, script-writer, songwriter, or performer), copyright law helps you protect your creation from being used without your permission, and ensures that you can get proper credit and payment when you allow others to use your work.
- General public. If you are a member of the public (such as an individual, or part of a small group of private users), copyright law affects what creative works you can use, and how you can use them.
- Businesses. If you run a business which commissions, licences, or uses copyrighted material (whether artwork, advertising material, copywriting, music, or short videos), copyright law affects what creative works you can use, how you can licence copyrighted material, and possibly even what markets you can operate in.
- Publishers or producers. If you run a business that publishes or produces copyrighted works (such as a book publishing house, record label, film or video production house, or game distributor), copyright law affects what you can license for, the value of your assets and your business, and possibly even what your business model will be.
New technologies and the Internet have shaped the way copyrighted content is created, distributed, and accessed. This impacts all groups of creators, users, businesses, and publishers/producers. As such, copyright law must keep pace with modern developments so as to support creativity and innovation, or it risks becoming irrelevant or obstructive.