We all have heard of the word “pirated”, which is often used with books and tapes etc. It pertains to illegally reproducing the works of others. The act of copying is the easiest for the doer and the most damaging and frustrating for the victim. For this reason, copyright was established as an intellectual property to protect the rights of authors.
Concept of copyrights
Copyrights are all about the ownership of works that fall under different categories of artistic, cinematographic and literary works. For example, poems, novels, presentations, computer programs, newspapers, databases, films, choreography, drawings, paintings, sculptures, photos, architecture, musical compositions, dramatic scripts, maps etc. All these works are copyrightable provided they are original and the author’s self-creation.
Registration for copyright
For copyrights, there’s no formal need for registration. That means for an author to claim their copyright against a third party’s act of reproducing, selling or distributing their work, it is not mandatory to show a registered copyright. This means that a copyright takes effect impliedly.
Duration one can claim copyright
The duration for ownership of a copyright as per the TRIPS Agreement by WTO and most national legislations is 50 years plus life of the author. After the expiry of this period, the work will become a public property and open for free use.
Privileges covered under a copyright
Copyright gives the author exclusive rights related to the reproduction, broadcast, translation, adaptation, and performance etc. All the rights that are given to the author exclude others from exercising the same.
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There are times when the author sells their work following which the copyrights are also transferred to the new owner. The author still retains the moral rights in their work despite transferring the legal rights. For example, their name must always be displayed with their work no matter whosoever derives economic benefits from it. The author deserves to be given the entitlement to the continuing goodwill being the creator of the work.
Importance of copyrights
Copyright is the only way of securing the status and position of a person as an author. They invest their time, effort, physical and material resources to come up with the final product in the shape of their work. They deserve the exclusive right to keep their work to themselves. It’s also possible that they are completely depending on their work for their livelihood; hence nobody gets to exploit their effort and deprive them from the entitlement.
Preventive steps to stop piracy
We often end up purchasing pirated versions of books, novels, software and tapes without giving a second thought to the fact that they’re illegal to use. Corruption and uncontrollable factors have made it impossible to completely stop the piracy especially in the states where law enforcing departments are not so transparent and efficient. The consequences of this are suffered by the authors from whose works we benefit but the money we pay doesn’t go to them, rather it goes to the persons who have zero input in the work and yet they get the profit and the one who really deserves it stays deprived of it. Now it’s on us to decide whether we want to keep encouraging the thieves to exploit the works of others or strengthen the copyright laws on our part by avoiding purchasing the plagiarized works. It’s time for us to make a difference!
Key Facts about Copyright:
- All of the US works which were published before the year 1923 exist in the public domain.
- As per the estimates of the copyright experts, about 85% of the US works which were published between the year 1923 and the year 1963 exist in the public domain now.
- Material which was published before 3rd January 1989 without any valid notice of copyright exists in the public domain.
- Only the original portions of a created work are protected by copyrights.
- A work’s copyright status doesn’t depend on the amount of effort, and time invested in the work.
- The works of the US government can’t be copyrighted.