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What is Copyright?

Entrepreneurs looking to secure the future expression of their products and ideas need to be aware of the multiple ways in which their intellectual property can be protected. This includes acknowledging the differences between patents and copyright registration in Australia, and why both are necessary to ensure comprehensive security for the life span of an idea.

Securing copyright serves its own unique purpose that all businesses should be investigating to preserve the future of their livelihood. After all, there’s no point spending all of that time and money developing an idea if it is not soundly protected from illegal reproduction.

Australian businesses have the potential to be innovative leaders going forward, and copyright registration has a significant part to play in this.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a free service in Australia that protects the expression of unique ideas as they are created and documented. This is most commonly used for works of art, with books, music, films and plenty of other mediums reliant on it for survival. In USA, copyright can be registered with the US Copyright Office and Alder IP can assist with this process.

If there was no way to register copyright in Australia or around the world, there would be no need to respect the work of other professionals, and commercial livelihoods and intellectual property ownership would be compromised. Copyright is generally aimed to protect the expression of an idea or concept and not the idea itself. Copyright lives in actual sample of the work and the scope of the protection is much narrower than trade mark, or patent protection.

This is not to say that ideas themselves are protected, but rather the expression of them is. Copyright in Australia seeks to preserve the original expression of ideas, encouraging business owners, entrepreneurs and artists to have their work protected accordingly once it is published.

How can copyright lawyers in Australia help?

Because there is no predestined method for registering copyright in Australia, it’s wise to approach the experts to plan a strategy around the protection of your ideas. The free nature of the system means things can get complicated if you believe your ideas or works have been falsely represented, reproduced or published.

Without this professional guidance, your ability to profit from or simply preserve your intellectual property could be compromised if less​-reputable parties attempt to distort or simply steal your hard work and pose it as their own.

Also, as it is a complicated legal process, there are many ways to ensure your copyright is protected and that your profit is maximised. This is where Alder IP comes in.

How long does copyright registration last for?

Thankfully for content producers, copyright lasts substantially longer than patent applications as it serves a different part of intellectual property protection. Previously, copyrighted material could not be reproduced without the owner’s permission for 50 years after the end of the creator’s life.

This lasted until 2005, where a free trade agreement with the United States increased the duration to 70 years, giving created works a longer legacy that preserves them for future generations, in most cases allowing the creator’s descendants to be supported by the works – provided ownership is transferred.

While this is the general rule, it can differ depending on the medium. For example, the copyright for radio and television broadcasts expires 50 years after the original broadcast is created. For other exceptions and how to manage them, the team at Alder IP can provide guidance on how best to proceed.

What constitutes copyright infringement in Australia?

Copyright owners in Australia have exclusive rights to the works they have created and/or own. Therefore, copyright is infringed when these acts are executed by someone that is not in a position to do so legally. Common examples of copyright infringement include republishing, downloading/uploading unauthorised copies, reproducing or performing a copyrighted work in a public space without the owner’s prior consent.

It’s also important to note that the whole work does not need to be copied for an act to be classed as copyright infringement. Australian copyright law defines “substantial copying” as grounds for infringement, with the specifics on this ruling needed to be worked out on a case-by-case basis.