If your browser supports Refresh, you'll be transported to our new home in 5 seconds, otherwise, select the link manually. Thank you

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Making It As A Freelance Writer - Tip #7 - Copyrights and copy wrongs

As a freelance writer, you'll need to be aware of the legal protection your work enjoys so you don't sign away rights that you should retain. Here are some some key aspects of UK copyright law you should be aware of.

In the UK, copyright is an automatic and unregistered right. That means there's no need to apply specially or fill in any forms. Copyright takes effect as soon as protected material is produced. Copyright protected material is known as works and there are nine types of work that are automatically protected. These are literary work (including newspaper articles), dramatic, musical, artistic (photos, drawings, diagrams, maps etc), sound recordings, films, broadcasts, cable programmes and published editions of works.

In order for material to have copyright protection it has to result from independent intellectual effort. In other words, you must have put some work into it. You'll need to be able to prove this if challenged, so although it's not obligatory, you can protect yourself by sending a copy of your work to yourself by recorded delivery and leaving the envelope unopened. Recorded delivery post is date stamped so you'll be able to prove that your work existed on a particular date.

Copyright lasts for the duration of the author’s life plus 70 years for literary, dramatic or musical works. Different periods apply for films (70 years after the last to die of the director, screenplay authors and musical director), sound recordings (50 years) and published editions (25 years). People are allowed to publish excerpts from your copyrighted work for the purpose of news, review or criticism. This is known as fair dealing. Works used in this way should be properly acknowledged.

More on copyright in the next tip.

No comments: