A Copyright is a type of protection for a person’s creative work and it is designed to prevent others from using this work without authorisation.

Copyright protection is provided under the Copyright Act 1968 and is both free and automatic in Australia. Automatic copyright generally occurs when the creator has documented their ideas to paper or electronically. The Act protects the original expression of ideas, and not the ideas themselves, so please consider carefully if your original idea will require a patent or your business name a trademark. Copyright is an intangible asset that consists of economic and moral rights to do certain acts with an original work or other copyright material.

Rights can include:

•  The right to copy
•  The right to publish or communicate (e.g. broadcast or online publication)
•  The right to perform
•  The right of integrity of authorship
•  The right of attribution of authorship
•  The right against false attribution of authorship

A clear distinction exists between the copyright in a work and the ownership of the physical article in which the work exists. For example, an author may own the copyright of the text in a book even though the physical copy of the book will be owned by the person who purchases it. Similarly, the purchaser of an original painting does not have the right to make copies of it without the permission of the owner of copyright: the right of reproduction remains with the copyright owner who is generally the artist. The ownership of copyright generally does not come into dispute, but when it does the court will take into account the evidence of the person who created the work and other persons who were involved in or who knew about the creation of the work. For example, statements of ownership of copyright, publication dates, or manufacturing dates are treated as accurate information by the court, unless proven otherwise by the opposing party.

The Quinn Group has a team of dedicated lawyers and intellectual property experts who can help you with copyright or intellectual property issues. Contact us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) to arrange an appointment.