What Is Copyright?

Did you know that whenever you write a poem or story, song, or a drawing or other artwork, you automatically own the copyright to it. Copyright is a form of protection given to the authors or creators of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual works. What that means is that, as the author of the work, you alone have the right to do any of the following or to let others do any of the following:

-make copies of your work;

-distribute copies of your work;

-perform your work publicly (such as for plays, film, dances or music);

-display your work publicly (such as for artwork, or stills from audiovisual works, or any material used on the Internet or television); and

-make “derivative works” (including making modifications, adaptations or other new uses of a work, or translating the work to another media).

In general, it is illegal for anyone to do any of the things listed above with a work created by you without your permission, but there are some exceptions and limitations to your rights and some Fair Use considerations.

Fair use could include:

• for criticism, review and news reporting;

• for research or private study;

• for educational purposes; and

• for public administration purposes.

You can 'give permission' for someone to use your material.

What about technology and the Internet? Any different? Well... no!

It’s quite easy to break the law without knowing, for example if you:

Download films, music, TV programmes or computer games for free when you should pay for them

Copy and share music you’ve downloaded

Copy DVDs and share or sell them.

Copy something straight from the Internet

So ....... can I use other peoples material from the Internet?

Good news... YES! You just need to know a bit about your rights and responsibilities.