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Under Australian copyright law, as the creator and maker of an original creative work, you have an automatic right to protect your work from individuals and companies copying and reproducing that work.

Under the Copyright Act 1968, from the first documentation of an original creative idea or concept, either on paper or by electronic means, copyright is automatically afforded to the creator. It is your right to protect your intellectual property copyright from individuals and companies who may seek to copy your various formats of work for financial gain.

Copyright protects creators from other people or companies copying, communicating, broadcasting, and reproducing that work in any format, or by any channel.

 A copyright infringement of intellectual property occurs when someone uses, changes, performs, shows, or reproduces your work without permission and/or written licence. Copyright is enforceable when this infringement occurs and NovelIP can assist you to clarify whether you are entitled to take legal action if you believe an infringement has occurred.

Copyright owners can give permission to others to use their work however it is recommended that this permission must be granted via a written licence or contract.

Enforcing copyright IP in Australia is the responsibility of the Department of Communications and the Arts.

What’s the difference between trademark and copyright?

Trademark and copyright are different forms of intellectual property. Both forms of protection ensure that your work cannot be copied however trademarks encompass ‘signs’ including names, logos, images, colours, sounds and/or shapes whereas copyright protects original pieces of creative work.

Copyright focuses on original and artistic works while trademark is used to enforce rights around goods or services of a business. To be enforceable, the sign of a trademark must be distinctive.

The following types of work can be protected by copyright:

  • artistic works, both tangible and digital, including drawings, paintings, crafts, photographs, engravings, sculptures, cartoons and graphic arts, maps and plans;
  • text including books, articles, scripts, poems, song lyrics, reports, newspapers, magazines and journals;
  • sound recordings and musical compositions including melodies, tunes and compositions;
  • dramatic works including theatre plays, choreography, screenplays and mimes;
  • films and broadcasts including TV, radio, podcasts, corporate training videos and digital media productions; and
  • computer programs.

As the creator of an original work you have the exclusive right to:

  • publish the work;
  • perform the work;
  • reproduce or copy the work;
  • adapt the work; and
  • distribute or communicate the work to the public by broadcasting via TV or radio or via digital communication channels.

Copyright protection is automatically afforded to the creator of the original work whereas a trademark must be applied for through IP Copyright Australia.

Registering a trademark permits you ten years of enforceable protection during which time you have the exclusive right to use, sell and license the trademark. Whereas, since January 2005, copyright gives the owner protection during their lifetime through to 70 years after their death.

How NovelIP can help

Through our copyright infringement investigation services, a Registered Australian TradeMark Attorney and Copyright Specialist will undertake a copyright and trademark search to establish ownership.

If your client thinks that a copyright infringement or intellectual property rights violation has occurred, Novel IP Investigations can help.

 Tips to protect your Copyright

  • Keep all drafts, sketches, notes and concepts of your work to demonstrate its originality and evolution.
  • Show you own the copyright by using the copyright notice ©, your name and the year you made it on all original works.
  • If you believe your copyright has been infringed, seek out a copyright attorney as soon as possible.

Where copyright does not apply:

  • When you are employed to create a work;
  • When you are paid to take photographs of people or places for private or commercial use.

Case Study 3

As part of a copyright infringement investigation, NovelIP attended markets and identified stalls selling pirated video games. One investigator covertly photographed the goods and the person selling them. Our investigator then went back to our vehicle and prepared and printed individually tailored cease and desist letters for each infringement. A second investigator then served the letters and obtained undertakings. The use of two investigators helps to keep our anonymity and allows us to attend the market regularly and confirm that undertakings are being followed.

Our copyright infringement investigation reports are provided in a format that can be easily transferred into a Statutory Declaration or Affidavit for use by our clients moving forward.

If you would like advice or help with copyright or trademark infringement, please contact us and a trademark consultant will be in contact to discuss a strategy that meets your objectives and budget.

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