Intellectual property (IP), of which copyright is a part, is a system of interconnected legislation that protects the creative output of the mind. Copyright doesn’t have to cover ‘creative’ works – only original ones. Copyright is the area of intellectual property concerned with literary works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, and artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. This website offers advice on copyright and related rights .The related rights include those of performing artists in their performances, producers in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programmes. A leading textbook in IP calls performance rights and database rights ‘rights akin to copyright’.
Copyright law grants copyright owners (also referred to as copyright holders) a set of exclusive rights where the default position is that users must ask permission unless covered by an exception in the Act.
The options to license or transfer copyright in whole or in part regularly involve contractual agreements. As a copyright holder controls how the work may be used, anyone wishing to use the work must enter into a licensing agreement with the owner. These agreements may be subject to the copyright owner’s defined standard terms and conditions or negotiated individually. So the exploitation and protection of copyright interacts closely with agreements captured in a formal document. This document is what will give you the rights to use a work and should be negotiated with that in mind. Understanding and negotiating contracts and licences is an essential part of what this website is about.
Other parts of intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs, protected under a different subdivision of intellectual property law often referred to as ‘industrial’ property, are not covered by this website. The following page contains a figure which gives an overview of intellectual property and its subdivisions.