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What is Copyright?

Copyright protects original artistic, musical, dramatic and literary works, including computer programs, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and typographical arrangements of published works.

It arises automatically on the creation of the work and lasts for 70 years after the death of the author for artistic, musical, dramatic and literary works. Sound recordings and broadcasts are protected for 50 years from the date of publication (this limit is set to rise to 70 years within the next two years).

Copyright does not protect against independent development of the same idea(s), only against the actual copying of another’s work.

Ownership of copyright in a work will allow the owner to prevent unauthorised use of the work, such as:

  • the making of copies of the work;
  • broadcasting the work; or
  • making the work available on the internet.
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