In Australia copyright is automatically secured the moment an idea is committed or expressed in material form. The original expression of the idea is what is subject to copyright, not the idea itself.
Until ideas are committed to writing or electronic format, the best protection you have is to keep them secret. Trade secrets, while not a registrable form of intellectual property, are best secured with confidentiality agreements.
The author of original works is granted the exclusive right to commercialise, licence, broadcast, publish or adapt their work.
The Copyright Act 1968 deals with copyright protection.
The types of works granted copyright protection include literary works (books, newspapers, magazines, computer programs), photographs, music, film, artwork and circuit layouts. Copyright protection generally lasts for 70 years after the author’s death, or from the publication or broadcast of films and sound recordings.
Although no copyright registration is required in Australia, you may wish to consider fixing a copyright notice on your work as a deterrent for potential infringers. Our IP team can assist with the process of dealing with infringement if you suspect someone has infringed your work.
It is important you obtain legal advice particular to your situation if you believe this is the case, as groundless threats of infringement carry carries consequences under the Copyright Act. Certain exceptions apply to infringement, such as research or study, review, news reporting parody and satire.
If you are considering publishing or broadcasting your work overseas then it is important to discuss copyright protection with our IP team, as copyright registration is required in some other jurisdictions.
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