worlds first copyright law, the Statute of Anne, was enacted
in England in 1710. Exercising its power under the newly adopted
Constitution to secure the rights of authors and inventors, Congress
passed an act almost identical to the Statute of Anne as the first
American copyright law in 1790.
is used to protect original material in art, literature or media.
Copyright protection arises from the act of creating the work and
gives the creator certain kinds of rights to control ways their
material can be used. Whereas designs and trademarks require formal
registration to achieve protection from unauthorised use or duplication,
no formal registration is required for copyright (except in the
United Sates). Copyright starts as soon as the material is recorded
in writing or in any other way. The right applies to: copying; adapting;
distributing; communicating to the public by electronic transmission
(including by broadcasting and in an on-demand service); renting
or lending copies to the public; and public performance. In many
cases the author will also have the right to be identified on their
works and to object if their work is distorted or mutilated.
Computer programs are protectable by copyright on the same basis
as literary works. Conversion of a program into or between computer
languages and codes corresponds to 'adapting' a work and storing
any work in a computer amounts to 'copying' the work. Running a
computer program or displaying a work on a VDU will usually involve
copying and thus require the consent of the copyright owner. A copyright
owner will usually need to give permission for 'adapting' and 'copying'
their work. Permission may not be required in order to make transient
or incidental temporary copies.
Some countries offer a voluntary registration option, some have
no requirement or a voluntary process. Currently USA has a somewhat
complex system and Turkey requires registration for cinematographic
works and phonograms with voluntary registration for everything
Duration of protection differ greatly from zero to life in
some countries and life plus 0 to 99 years in others.