Whether you’re a graphic designer or photographer, podcaster or course creator, the beautiful work that you send out into the world should be protected at all costs.
This is where copyright law comes in. And today, we’re going to do a deep dive with you into all things copyright!
Before we talk about copyright, we need to take a few steps back to the edge of the pool and talk about Intellectual Property.
Intellectual Property, aka IP, is all the fantastic ideas swimming around in your wonderful creative mind.
However, once these original ideas come to life (i.e. they’re incorporated into a piece of work – whether that’s a physical or a digital item), then the work becomes copyrighted material.
For example, you woke up one day with the most amazing idea to release a niche social media course on how to turn any pet into an Instagram superstar (intellectual property). You then worked hard to build out your course, crafted your knowledge into beautifully written words and designed funky graphics to go with it – all of this is protected by copyright, as your intellectual property has now been turned into a product.
So, to tie it all in, copyright is basically a form of intellectual property protection!
Alright, after you tell us where and when we can purchase this course (please will someone make this a reality?!), head on into the shallow end with us for a quick Q&A.
What are some works that are commonly protected by copyright?
- Videos, such as a live webinar that you created and recorded for your followers
- Artwork, including paintings, graphic design, illustrations, etc
- Written material like books, blog posts, guides, templates and checklists that you may have made for your workshop or courses
- Sound recordings, from songs and instrumental numbers to podcasts, sound bites and even weird bird noises, if that’s your thing (I mean, if you can sell it, why not?)
- Performance work, like plays and dance routines
Do I have to do anything in order to copyright my work?
Nope, you don’t have to lift a finger! In Australia, you don’t need to register for copyright protection over your work. Once your original piece of work is lovingly produced, it is automatically copyrighted under Australian law.
However, there is one important thing to note…
Your work does have to be connected to Australia in some way. For example, you created it in Australia, or you first published the work in Australia.
What about adding that ©? Is that important?
Because copyright is a form of automatic protection in Australia, your work will still be protected even in the absence of the © symbol. However, we think it’s a good idea to use the symbol as it can deter others and act as a warning sign to those shady copycats!
How long does copyright protection last for?
It depends on the type of work, but it will generally last your entire lifetime plus 70 years.
I mean… by this point, your copyrighted work might want to prepare for retirement, right?
Alrighty, time for the jump into the deep end – why is copyright so important?
Simply put, copyright law recognises the skill and effort of the author and creator and ensures that they get full control over and exclusive rights to their original creative work. It is also there to make sure that creators are protected from people wanting to copy their hard work!
So, what can I do with my copyrighted work?
- Earn money (and rightly so, you deserve to!)
- Make multiple copies
- Repurpose your work – for example, your petfluencer social media course above could be turned into a webinar or a podcast!
- Freely share and publish your work anywhere you want
- Make an adaptation of the work
But most importantly...
Everyone else will need your explicit permission to even think about doing any of the above. This is even if they have purchased or been given the original work. Just because someone has your original draft of Dogtiki, for example, does not mean they can then reproduce it (unless you say they can).
And if they try to? Well, that is considered a copyright infringement and you have the right to ask them to stop (via a gentle nudge in their DM or a strongly worded letter)
Now that you’ve had a good swim and are drying off, here are a few things to remember:
- Copyright is a type of intellectual property protection that provides creators with the right to control and exclusively use the original work that they have created
- In Australia, copyright exists automatically, and it is free
- You are not required to use the © symbol, however it is recommended that you do to deter copycats
- Copyright work lasts for your lifetime plus 70 years
- No one else can use your copyrighted work unless you give them permission to (preferably in a legally legit licensing agreement!) - if they do, this is considered a copyright infringement and you have legal avenues to ask them to stop
Want a couple of extra swimming lessons to get really across copyright and how to protect your work? Get in touch for a chat with us today!
***Disclaimer. Please read!!***
This article is for general information purposes only and should be used solely as general guidance. It does not and is not intended to represent legal advice or other professional advice.