Copyright protects works like novels, computer programmes, plays, sheet music and paintings. Generally, the author of a copyright work has the right to reproduce, publish, perform, communicate and adapt his work. These exclusive rights form the bundle of rights that we call copyright and enable the owner to control the commercial exploitation of his work. Copyright can be transferred either as an entire bundle, or as a single, distinct right within the bundle.
For a work to be protected by copyright, it has to be original and expressed in a tangible form such as in a recording or writing. Originality simply means that there is a degree of independent effort in the creation of the work.
What is protected by copyright?
Copyright protects the expression of ideas (e.g., in words and illustrations). Ideas alone are not protected.
The following may be protected under copyright law:
An author automatically enjoys copyright protection as soon as he creates and expresses his work in a tangible form. There is no need to file for registration to get copyright protection.
A copyright work created by a Singapore citizen or resident is protected in many countries overseas by virtue of international agreements. Generally, under these international agreements, the work of a Singapore citizen or resident would be protected in countries that signed the agreements as though the work was made there. .
What is not protected by copyright?
Subject matter not protected by copyright include:
The symbol ©
The use of the symbol is simply a notice of a claim by the owner that copyright exists. It does not give the copyright owner any substantive right and is therefore not crucial to the enjoyment of copyright protection.
Conversely, if you do not use the symbol it does not mean that you waive your right of copyright or that you lose protection. It may, however, be a relevant fact in infringement proceedings if the infringing party claims that he did not know that the material was protected under copyright law. The use of the symbol would generally stop the infringing party from successfully relying on such an argument.
In practice, the © symbol is usually followed by the year when copies of the work were first made available and the name of the copyright owner. Sometimes there may also be a statement indicating the terms of permitted use. In cases where owners only allow for very limited use, the term “All Rights Reserved” may be found after the symbol.
Proof of originality
In practice, authors have resorted to a number of ways to preserve their interests. They may have:
However, these are by no means foolproof methods of proving authorship as they do not prove that the work is original or created by the author. In a dispute, the Court will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prove the authorship.
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