When does it apply?



Copyright is an abstract notion for many of us. It is unclear whether it requires registration or not, what the © stands for, how much it costs and what it protects. So, here’s a simple and brief overview of what copyright is.

Copyright rests automatically on any work, as long as you created it and it can be considered original.

Automatically? Yes! Copyright does not require a registration, payment or any other formality. It applies automatically to your work once it’s completed. In the UK and the EU, the © sign is not required, but can be useful to signal that you are aware of your copyright and will enforce it.

Any work? This can be a book, article, blogpost or any other text; a song or melody you create; a video or film you made; a public performance of theatre or dance; software code you’ve developed; photographs you’ve taken; logos you’ve drawn; and works of art such as paintings and sculptures. 

Original? This does not mean you need to be the first ever to create something like it. It refers to the skill, effort or labour you’ve put into creating it, the creative decisions you made along the way. For this reason, it is not possible to obtain a copyright on a colour, name or word (you can look at trade marks for that).

What about ideas? Bad news: they cannot be protected by copyright. Precisely because there needs to be an actual work, that exhibits the skill, labour or creative decisions. Anyone should be free to use an idea; however, the way it is developed or expressed is protectable.

For more information on other ways to protect an idea, you can check our corresponding article here.

If you have any question about this, you can always contact us. We can help you develop a strategy to best protect your interests and intellectual property. Ask us how we can be of assistance!

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