The English were the first to use copyright. Rights for
copyrighted material were given by the British Parliament by the Copyright Act
in 1709. Since then, many copyright conventions have been held and treaties
were created to determine how rights and ownership for copyrighted material
would be determined. After many years and debate, the strongest and most
recognized copyright laws are the World Intellectual Property Organization
(WIPO). The WIPO evolved from the Berne Convention which took place in 1886 in
to the author and creator of a copyrighted original work.
Once something is created in a tangible form, that creation has a copyright.
Rights existing under copyright law give creators of a work the exclusive
rights to that work. Works that can be copyrighted include:
or sound recordings
sculptures and graphics
and choreographic works
pictures and other audiovisual works
works are all considered the property of their creator. While they are not
properties like a house and car are someone’s property, they can be just as or
even more important than those properties to their creator. Once one of those
works are put into a tangible medium, they are the property and copyrighted
material of their creator or author. No copyright applications or forms need to
be filled out to obtain a copyright.
past forms or a notice of copyright was needed, but that is no longer the case.
Creation and the ability to see or hear the work in its complete form is all
that is needed to own the exclusive rights and reap the benefits of whatever
may come about from being the creator and exclusive rights owner of an original
Copyrights fall under the term “Intellectual Property”. A person in
possession of intellectual property is entitled to the financial benefits that
come with being the owner of such a property. Owning intellectual property does
not allow anyone except the creator of the property to profit off the property
without the consent of the creator. It is also against the law to use
intellectual property in a way that would prevent the creator from profiting
off their work.
To use a copyrighted material in a way that would infringe upon a copyright
owner’s rights is known as copyright infringement.
Copyright infringement can include selling copyrighted material, producing or
distributing material and altering copyrighted material.