Your work is automatically protected by copyright from the moment it is created.
Copyright is automatically given to the author or creator of an original work.
Copyright protects this work from being used without the author's permission
Copyright allows for that author or creator to profit from their creation, either by selling or licencing their work.
Copyright protection is automatic. An author or creator does not need to publish, register or apply for copyright.
Copyright applies to any works created in hard copy or electronic format. This includes:
Any piece of work which has been written or recorded in some way (published and unpublished) is protected by copyright. A work that has been expressed in a 'fixed' way is protected by copyright. Thoughts, ideas and facts are not.
A copyright owner has exclusive rights over a copyright work.
Only copyright owners have the right to authorise activities known as restricted acts. These include
The copyright owner also has performance rights to their work(s). This means that consent must be provided by the copyright owner before any
Individual performers also have rights in their performance. Whether this is singing, acting, playing a musical instrument or any other form of performance. Full information on performers' rights is set out in Section 182 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
Without the copyright holder's permission, anyone else undertaking one of these restricted acts is breaking the law.
The copyright owner also has economic rights with regard to the work. This means that they can profit from their work by renting or selling the work or by licensing the work for use by others.
The copyright owner also has moral rights in regard of the work. Moral rights include:
For works of art, music, drama or literature, the author or the creator of the work is the first owner of the copyright.
For works on film, the copyright owner is the principal director of the film along with the film's producer.
Broadcasters own the copyright for radio and television broadcasts.
Publishers own the copyright for published works.
Joint authors share ownership of copyright.
An original work may also have 'layers' of copyright. For example, the text of a book may belong to the author; translation of that text to the translator; illustrations to the artist and the typesetting arrangement to the printer/publisher.
It is also important to note that copyright ownership can be transferred, inherited or sold. It is not always safe to assume that even if you are the original creator of the work, you may no longer be the copyright owner.
You may not hold the copyright of work that has been commissioned by a third party or work created as part of your employment.
Remember: as soon as it is created your work is protected by copyright. Upon creation, standard practice is to add, for example, Your Name, (c) 2021 to show the date of creation.
Previously, authors would send a copy of their work through the post to themselves to prove it was in existence by a certain date. These days, such actions are unnecessary as computers will automatically date documents that are created on them.
Generally speaking, if you have created a work as part of your employment then your employer is the copyright owner. The terms and conditions of your employment should provide details on who owns the works created during your employment and how they will be used and protected.
If you have created your work as part of your employment at Aberystwyth University, please refer to this document which outlines the University's Intellectual Property Policy
In the United Kingdom, copyright law is enshrined in the Copyright Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
Specific sections of that Act that relate to protecting your own work can be found below, namely: