Copyright protection first came into being as far back as the 1700s when it was initially decreed in London. This was the first time a state recognized that the author of original work, was the owner of its copyright. Nevertheless, it still required authors and creators to store their content in copyright libraries upon completion.
A significant change came underway in 1886 when the Berne Convention was established. This policy worked across borders, establishing an edict stating that published or unpublished work would automatically be protected under copyright protection. This law addresses all kinds of artists including authors, musicians, painters and more. Currently, over 173 out of 194 nation states are members of the Berne Convention. This is why, today, copyright law is similar across the globe and is applicable as soon as a creator starts developing or producing his or her work.
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Simply put, the US government defines copyright as thus: “Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. The Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.”
(Copyright In General (faq) | U.S. Copyright Office. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html)
Under the protection of copyright, owners can now:
Reproduce their creation
Build derivative works or other works based on their original production
Disseminate copies of their work through ownership transfer, sale or lease
Display their work on a public platform
Perform their work publicly
The Berne Convention states that the original creator does not need to register for copyright as it is automatically granted. Under this, one also has the right to permit others to use or distribute their work will stop this feature can be arranged through a transfer of copyright with contracts.
However, if an organization or institution employs an individual to create the work, the creator may not necessarily own the copyright.
Importance of copyright
Copyright works as a motivator to produce creative works, rather than perceived as an impediment. It ensures that intellectual property becomes an asset. If individuals could replicate your work, either in the form of a book, painting, or song, and make a profit out of it, the value of the asset will come down.
Copyright gives owners the right to control the economic value of their creation. This ensures that no duplication or replication is legally permitted. With copyright protection, original work is not only retained but builds value over time. Therefore, ensuring the establishment of legacy, as the value of the creation is handed down the generations.
Another key benefit of copyright protection is to have control over the distribution of one’s work. If there is a demand for copyrighted content, an artist can maximize financial profits by licensing others to utilize or disseminate the creation. Licensing ensures that terms and conditions are set wherein others can use your work within those boundaries. Infringing on copyright laws is regarded as breaking the law and could incur substantial penalties.
Any act that breaks the conditions set by the copyright holder is regarded as copyright infringement. This could include using original content without the creator’s permission, violating pre-agreed contracts, or displaying original works without authorization. In some cases, copyright infringement is typically resolved by addressing the issue between the creator and the offender. Thereby following a negotiation process. In severe cases, the creator can take the offender to court. Examples of copyright infringement include:
Making use of images without the creator’s permission or attribution
Duplicating lyrics or music without permission
Distributing e-book content without agreeing to the contract placed by the copyright holder
Reproducing original content available online
Although the Berne Convention automatically provides legal rights to original content, it requires a proactive approach to enforce it.
To ensure you can exercise your rights, it is crucial to use Digital Rights Management (DRM) software to protect your original content. DRM can protect digital documents from piracy by restricting access to the content through encryption and controlling use by DRM controls and licensing. This technology use is to help to protect confidential data, sensitive financial material, and e-books.
Protecting documents through password-restricted access is popular for most digital materials or websites. However, given the use of sophisticated password recovery applications and online tools available, hackers can easily remove passwords. Therefore, Strong DRM solutions, use public key technology. So that keys are not exposed to either users or application interfaces.
Watermarking embeds original content with visible or invisible watermarks to expose the person responsible if pirated material makes it into the public domain.
All DRM solutions use encryption to prevent unauthorized access to, enforce DRM controls and ensure keys are securely locked to authorized devices. Industry standard DRM, for independent authors and publishers to protect and control the use of their works, is recommended.
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