Author Topic: Quick Guide To Intellectual Property Law & Copyright  (Read 1852 times)

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Offline Dougal

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Quick Guide To Intellectual Property Law & Copyright
« on: August 29, 2007, 05:01:13 PM »



Talkswindon Quick Guide To Intellectual Property Law & Copyright




Copyright law is just one of a range of legal rights which enable the owner to prevent someone else from using their work without permission or passing it off as their own.

Generally speaking, when someone creates something - from a painting to a restaurant review - they have legal ownership of the copyright unless or until they sell or give those rights away. If you are considering contributing anything to Talkswindon that you haven't created yourself, assume that you don't have the right to do it. It may breach someone's intellectual property rights and it breaks our Terms of Use.


What are the exceptions?

One of the problems with Intellectual Property Law is that it is quite complex. In some circumstances it is OK to include other people's material in your own work, in others it isn't.


Expired Copyright

Copyright protection for written work generally lasts for 70 years from the end of the year in which the author died. This means you can quote Shakespeare, Chaucer and Queen Victoria, but not Churchill, Princess Diana or Elvis. Similar principles apply to artwork (such as photographs, paintings or drawings).
Quoting Extracts

Short extracts of copyright works can be used without consent as long as they are 'insubstantial' - There is no hard and fast definition of what is or isn't substantial as it depends on the work and the importance of the extract you want to use.


Parody or 'homage'

In limited circumstances you may be able to use an idea from an existing work for the purpose of making a 'parody' of it, provided that you use your own skill and originality in creating your new work, and don't use a 'substantial' part of the work you're parodying.


Fair Dealing

There are exceptions in the Copyright Act which allow for what is called 'fair dealing'. This means:

    * Using a work for the purposes of criticism or review (as long as you acknowledge it)
    * Using a work (except photographs) for the purposes of reporting current events

Even here, the size of the quotations/extracts, how they are used and how proportionate they are to your review or report as a whole may also be considered.


Titles

The titles of books, films or songs won't usually have copyright protection.


Ideas

Ideas themselves are generally not protected by copyright law until they are written down.



The information provided here is intended as a guide only. It does not constitute legal advice.



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