Home > Free Essays > Law > Intellectual Property > Copyright Laws Definitions
Cite this

Copyright Laws Definitions Essay

A copyright is a law that protects the ideas and expressions of people from being stolen or used by other people. Copyrights are usually prepared for literary forms of works, photographic material, musical or song compositions, films or motion pictures and sound recordings.

Copyright laws are designed to protect the expressed idea in the forms stated above and not the idea or piece of information itself (Australian Government, 2009). A copyright law is viewed to be in effect once any of the following two conditions are satisfied which are; creating an original piece of work and the use of the original piece of work in a tangible form such as a book or picture (Standler, 2009).

The copyright laws were originally formulated in the United Kingdom after being derived from the common law known as the Statute of Anne 1709. The rights that were covered in the statute gave the authors or designers of literary or artistic works the right to control how the public used their material.

The law also gave the creator of the work the right to be identified as the main designer or author of the copyright work. The author had the exclusive right to claim the original idea or expression used in creating the literary, artistic, or musical work (Copy right service, 2009).

The types of works that are covered by the copyright law are literary works such as song lyrics, book manuscripts, computer programs and business/academic manuals and documents.

Dramatic works covered by the copyright laws include works such as drama, plays or poems while musical works include song lyrics, music compositions and song recordings. Copyrights for artistic works include creating laws for works such as photographs, paintings, maps, architectural designs, sculptures and technical diagrams.

Interpreting when to enforce a copyright will involve copyrighting the tangible medium of the idea instead of the idea or expression itself. To explain this statement, an idea for a book cannot be protected but the actual contents of the book are viable for copyright protection.

Another person might decide to write a book with a similar topic as long as they do not reproduce information contained in another book and pass it off as their own work (Davies, 2010).

The author or designer of any copyright material has the exclusive right to make copies of their work or reproduce it when they feel the need to, they have the right to prepare derivative works such as adapting the material to suit a particular need, to distribute the reproduced work to the general public or the intended market by publishing the work, renting or leasing the copyrighted material or selling the material to the mentioned public or the target market.

The author of the copyright also has the exclusive right to perform the work that comes with the copyright in a public manner as well as display the work in a public format (Standler, 2009).

The duration of a copyright will be determined by the type of work to be copyrighted, the availability of the work to the public, and the status of the author or creator of the work. Literary and artistic works such as photographs, films and songs have a copyright duration of 70 years that is effected at the end of the calendar year.

Sound recordings have a copyright duration of 50 years from the end of the calendar year when the work was originally created by the author or when the work was made available to the public. Copyright laws have restricted acts that are deemed to be punishable by the laws that govern the copyright (Davies, 2010).

Restricted acts to copyrights include reproducing the original work of the author without their consent, leasing/renting, issuing, or lending the work to the public without the knowledge of the author and performing the copyrighted such as a song or musical composition without the consent of the owner.

The acts that are allowed by the copyright laws include all aspects encompassed by fair dealing which describes the copyright acts that are allowed as long as they do not infringe on the author’s original work.

The permissible acts include conducting research activities using the copyright material, using information in the original work for educational purposes, incorporating copyright work for news reporting and criticism purposes, using the copyright for the purpose of statutory enquiries, parliamentary proceedings, and judicial cases and hearings.

Other permissible acts include producing back up copies of the work for personal use which mostly applies in computer programming software and hardware programs. The act of playing a musical copyright work for a non profit making organization is also permissible (Copyright Service, 2009).

Copyright laws were formulated to deal with cases of plagiarism or theft of ideas/information from text books, visual images or motion pictures and music recordings. Plagiarism is described as taking someone else’s original ideas and using the ideas to create a piece of work without providing a proper reference to the idea.

Plagiarizing work that has a copyright is at times viewed to be a copyright infringement on the author’s original work but in some cases it is not an infringement if the author is dead and the material is older than 100 years. For example, any work created by William Shakespeare is used to develop literary material or dramatic and artistic works.

This will not qualify as copyright infringement because Shakespeare’s works are too old but it would still be plagiarism if Shakespeare is not cited or referenced in the work (Plagiarism Checker, 2006).

Copyright infringement occurs when the work of someone is used or reproduced without the consent of the author or designer of that original work. Students have the copyrights to their assignments as long as they have provided the original idea or information that was used to create the work.

They are however liable for infringement if they do not give the proper credit to the source of information that is not originally theirs (Coopman & Lull, 2008). Derivative work occurs when a person takes copyrighted material and changes the content of the material to reflect a different idea.

The author of the derivative work is therefore seen to share a copyright with the author of the original work and does not have an entitlement to full ownership of the copyright (Plagiarism Checker, 2006).

The restrictions placed on copyright are similar to those placed for dealing with plagiarism cases. The University of Maryland policies regard plagiarism to be the use of someone else’s written work which includes using phrases or diagrams from another source without proper citation and also the paraphrasing of ideas or information contained in written works.

The policies also define plagiarism as the use of all or part of a literary work such as a poem, a musical composition, a film or an artistic work without giving the proper credit to the author (UMUC, 2010).

The restrictions which are set forth for dealing with cases of plagiarism, or cheating in academic institutions include a reduction in the overall grade of the work found to have been plagiarised, a grade of zero or F is given for the plagiarized work, a requirement to redo the work that will see the student getting a lower grade, a discussion with the instructor to determine that will see the offender redoing the work after which it will be remarked by the instructor with the appropriate grade but with a record of the plagiarism case, suspension or expulsion from the academic institution for a student caught with several cases of academic dishonesty, the opening of a disciplinary file or record for the student if caught with cases of dishonesty, plagiarism or academic dishonesty (Moon, 2005).

The restrictions that are placed for copyright materials are divided into two parts which are concerned with the freedom given to organs of information such as the media to publish reports or information that will serve the public interest and the use of specialized media organs such as newspapers, articles, magazines and newsletters to publicise the copyrighted information.

The reproduction of information that is deemed to be copyright material is viewed to be free except where the law places a stipulation for the notice of expression or the reservation of rights to use the copyrighted material (UNESCO, 2010).

A restriction that is present in all copyright laws deals with making the reasonable use of works of another person by incorporating quotation marks, paraphrasing excerpts from the original work or using the work for criticism, reporting and research purposes.

This restriction is referred to as fair use (UNESCO, 2010). The UK law on copyrights was amended in 2003 to limit the number of permissible circumstances that are allowed for using copyrighted material. The amendments were meant to be used by academic institutions and other institutions that used literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works.

The amendments saw the addition of restrictions to permitted uses of copyright materials which are that the work will be used for non-commercial purposes and the use of the copyrights will require acknowledgement of the original author (Mackenzie & Walker, 2008).


Australian Government (2009). Copyright. Web.

Coopman, S. J. & Lull, J. (2008). Public speaking: the evolving art. Boston, US: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

Copyright Service (2009). Fact sheet P-01: UK copyright law. Web.

Davies, G. (2010). . Thames Valley University. Web.

Mackenzie, J. & Walker, K. (2008). . Web.

Moon, J. (2005). Plagiarism in higher education: an integrated approach. New York: Pent House.

Plagiarism Checker (2006). Web.

Standler, R. B. (2009). . Web.

UNESCO (2010) . Web.

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) (2010). Policy 150.25 academic dishonesty and plagiarism. Web.

This essay on Copyright Laws Definitions was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a url citation style:


IvyPanda. (2020, January 20). Copyright Laws Definitions. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/copyright-laws/

Work Cited

"Copyright Laws Definitions." IvyPanda, 20 Jan. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/copyright-laws/.

1. IvyPanda. "Copyright Laws Definitions." January 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/copyright-laws/.


IvyPanda. "Copyright Laws Definitions." January 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/copyright-laws/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Copyright Laws Definitions." January 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/copyright-laws/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Copyright Laws Definitions'. 20 January.

More related papers
Pss... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Pss... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!