COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION

Registration of a copyright is advisable but not essential. Registration awards the creator of creative works ( i.e.: music, books, software,filmsetc) greater protection as against unauthorized copying and use for commercial purposes. Essentially it protects the creators work from theft or duplication by awarding him/her a legal right of ownership over his/her innovation. It is for this reason that registration of a copyright is recommended. The greatest advantage is that the Copyright Office has a record of copyrighted innovations thus avoiding issues over right of ownership, especially where there is a lack of knowledge.

PROCEDURE FOR FILING OF A COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION

Such registration may be done via an online portal wherein all forms and payments must be made. Once this is completed a unique diary number is created in favour of the applicant. The applicant is given a grace period of 30 days in which (s)he may receive any objections.

In the event of no objections being raised within the above mentioned grace period the examiner then analyses the application to ensure there are no inconsistencies. Once satisfied of same, registration will be confirmed and an extract will be given to the Registrar to add to the Register of Copyright. However, if an objection is received within the grace period the examiner will send a letter with a date of hearing to both parties at which a decision to approve or deny registration will be made.

Once this form is completed , the applicant must send a hard copy of Acknowledgement Slip and Copyright Registration Report to the Copyright Office.

WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED FOR THE COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION REPORT?

  • Statement of Particulars [SoP] and Statement of Further Particulars [SoFP]
  • 2 copies of the work
  • Power of Attorney [if filing through an advocate]
  • No Objection Certificate [NOC] from various other persons involved in the creation of work. (if you are not the sole creator)

DURATION OF COPYRIGHT PROTECTION–

  • Literary work
  • Dramatic work
  • musical and
  • artistic works
lifetime of the author + sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies
  • Anonymous and pseudonymous works
  • Posthumous work
  • Cinematograph films
  • Sound records
  • Government work
  • Public undertakings
  • International Agencies
  • Photographs
until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar years next following the year in which the work is first published

WORK PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

Copyrightprotects original works of authorship including

  • Literary works
  • Musical works, including any accompanying words
  • Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphics, and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works

In terms of copyright, “literary works”is not confined to literature. In fact it is inclusive of all works of expression in writing. Therefore audiovisual works howsoever embodied are not protected. In order to be protected the must be more than amere idea it must be written down,saved to a hard drive or otherwise fixed.

TYPES OF WORKS NOT PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW:

  • Works not given a tangible form of expression
  • Works containing common property information that do not contain original authorship.
  • Titles, names, short phrases and slogans
  • Symbols or designs that are familiar
  • Variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring
  • Listings of ingredients or contents