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.