Copyright is a legal process enacted by most governments allowing the creator of original work exclusive rights. Copyright also gives the copyright holder credit for what they have produced and may benefit them financially.
Who automatically owns Copyright?
In most cases the author who originally created the work usually owns the copyright. However in some cases such as photography, if the photographer is commissioned by an employer the employer is the first owner of the copyright. In some situations two or more people can be joint authors/owners of copyright.
In the case of a sound recording the author and first owner of copyright is the record producer; in the case of a broadcast, the broadcaster; and in the case of a published edition, the publisher.
How long does Copyright last?
Photography – Photographs are protected for 70 years after the death of the photographer. However if they are subject to Crown copyright then it applies for a maximum of 125 years, if subject to Parliamentary copyright it applies for 50 years from the taking of the photograph.
Sound recording, broadcasts, cable programmes and computer generated works – Copyright lasts for 50 years from the end of the year they were made, released or first broadcast. There will usually be more than one copyright associated with a work such as a song. If you are the composer of the music you will be the author of the musical work and will have copyright in that music. The lyrics of the song are protected separately by copyright as a literary work and will usually be owned by the person who wrote them.
Literary, Dramatic or Artistic Works Copyright lasts for 70 years after the year of a known author’s death. For unknown authors it expires 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first made available to the public. If a work is produced by two or more authors then the copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the last of the authors to die.