How much do you know about copyright and your intellectual property rights?
In March 2015, 271 creative professionals responded to our survey about their knowledge of copyright and IP.
Now...THE RESULTS ARE IN!
Q 1. In Australia, you must register copyright in your work in order for the work to be protected by copyright.
35% of respondents were unsure or thought this statement was true, when in fact it is...
Copyright protection in Australia springs to life upon the work being created. The click of a camera button, pen to paper, bashing away at the keyboard writing a blog, or designing layout for a brochure on your computer. All of these actions will usually give rise to copyright.
Q 2. Copyright law protects your artistic style, technique or use of specific materials.
57% of respondents were unsure or thought this statement was true, when in fact it is...
People are often surprised to learn that ideas, themes, styles, facts and concepts are not protected under copyright law in their own right. It is the expression of those ideas, facts and so on when reduced to material form that copyright protects, so long as they are original. In Owning It, one case study in particular concerning a contemporary painter shines a spotlight on the way this works in practise.
Q 3. You can play music in your shop, café, gallery or another public place provided you have purchased the music legitimately (e.g. on CD or via iTunes).
Over half of the respondents were unsure or thought this statement was true, when in fact it is...
Generally, you need a licence from a collecting society, such as APRA AMCOS, to play music in a public place. These licences ensure that musicians who are registered with the collecting society (which is easy and free for musicians to join) receive a royalty every time a song is played in a public place. Failure to acquire a licence can result in heavy fines.
Q 4. If you trade mark your business or brand name, no-one else can use that name for their business or brand.
78% of respondents thought this statement was true, when in fact it is...
Technically, two businesses can have the same brand name, when that brand name covers different goods or services. Think DOVE chocolate and DOVE soap, or PINK LADY APPLES and PINK LADY CHOCOLATES. That said, registering your brand is important as trade marks, business and domain names are generally granted on a first-come first-served basis (subject to some exceptions). In Owning It, we look at some examples so you can make an informed choice when it comes to naming your business and protecting your brand through trade mark registration.
Q 5. If you change someone else’s work by 10% or more, you will not infringe their copyright.
Unfortunately, half of the survey respondents were unsure or thought this statement was true, when in fact it is...
It is a common misconception that if you change an existing creative work by “10 per cent” (or some other percentage) that will make it okay. Others think that if you make seven changes (or any other number of changes) that is enough to avoid copyright infringement. Not so. The test of whether copyright infringement has occurred is one of ‘substantiality’, taking into account the quality of what has been taken or copied over the quantity. As the book demonstrates through a number of case studies, what qualifies as ‘substantiality’ can be surprising indeed.
Q 6. You can legally use someone else’s work online provided you tell people where you found the image or who created it.
Over half of the survey respondents were unsure or thought this statement was true, when in fact it is...
A copyright owner (that is, the person who created or has been assigned copyright in a creative work) has an exclusive bundle of rights under the law. Using a work or even displaying another person’s work online without their permission can infringe these rights, regardless of whether you credit them or not. Therefore, it’s always best to ask for permission than for forgiveness!
Q 7. If you find an image online and there is no © symbol displayed with it or indication of who created it, you can freely use the image in your artistic work, product, advertising materials or collage.
Thankfully, only 3% of respondents thought this statement was true, which is a relief as it is indeed...
As discussed above, copyright in Australia springs to life upon creation of a work, and just because a © symbol isn’t present, doesn’t mean it is not a copyright work.
Q 8. If your client tells you in writing to copy someone else's work, or create something very similar, they (not you) would be guilty of copyright infringement.
1 in 4 respondents were unsure or thought this statement was true, when in fact it is... FALSE
If a copyright infringement is found, you as the creator of the infringing work may be held liable for copyright infringement as well. Keep this in mind if you are asked by a client to replicate or make changes to an existing design. It pays to do your due diligence and request evidence from the client that he or she has permission from the original copyright owner to do these things.
Q 9. If you pay someone to photograph your work, you own the copyright in the photographs they take for you.
41.3% of respondents were unsure or thought this statement was true, when in fact it is...
Unless the photo is for private and domestic purposes, the person that takes the photograph (that is, literally presses the camera button) or their employer, may actually own copyright in the resulting photograph. Importantly, this is all subject to an agreement to the contrary. Even if there is no agreement, the photographer may still be able to stop you from using the photo in a way that exceeds what was originally contemplated by the parties. It all depends on the facts but it’s not as straightforward as you might think at first glance…. We explore types of licences and contracts in Owning It.
Q 10. A contract must be signed and in writing to be enforceable.
61% of respondents thought this statement was true, when in fact it is...
You may be surprised to learn that not all contracts need to be signed to be enforceable (although, it is always best to get that signature!). In Owning It, we look into the stages of a contract and what is considered enforceable should you have neglected to put pen to paper.
Other surprising results...
Only 59% of respondents know that Moral Rights for a creative person includes the right to be credited as the creator of your work.
There are also other rights that fall within the umbrella of protection granted under Australia’s moral rights laws, and while a creative’s moral rights may be waived they can never be assigned.
Not all of the respondents were clear on what to do or not to do if their work has been copied.
A first step might be to gather all the evidence they can (if this can be done). However, ‘calling out’ a copycat on social media, accusing them of all sorts things or contacting that person directly regarding their alleged infringement - could have potentially serious consequences. We explore some real-life case studies in the book.
Only 65% of respondents knew that trade marking their brand or logo is the best way to protect it legally. 35% were unsure.
In Owning It, we dissect the laws surrounding copyright, trade marks and designs to make clear the best avenues to take to protect your brands and creative works.