Copyright Protection


Copyright protects the expression in material form of ideas or information. Copyright protection may be enjoyed by, for example, a book, a sculpture, a song or a picture.  Unlike patents and designs, there is no requirement to register copyright in a work; it automatically subsists once the work is created, provided that the requirements under the Copyright Act are fulfilled.  In general, copyright will subsist in a work until 70 years after the death of the author.

There may be copyright in a picture used as or as part of a trademark.  There may also be copyright in an article that is produced on an industrial scale, although in Australia there are statutory limitations on whether or not copyright protection may be enjoyed for certain industrially produced products.

For example, in Australia if a three dimensional product is produced industrially (generally when more than 50 products are produced), then it is typically not possible for that product to enjoy copyright protection. Similarly, if design protection was obtained for a product in Australia, then copyright protection is usually not available.

It is interesting to note that this situation may be quite different in other countries. For example, in New Zealand it may be possible to obtain copyright protection for three dimensional products produced on an industrial scale, although the term of copyright protection may be shortened.

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