What do the new Harry Potter play and your company assets have in common?

The answer is copyright and at Kain Lawyers we’re not muggles when it comes to protecting your intellectual property rights.

The copyright of a business is often amongst its most important assets, however, many business owners remain in the dark about what is protected, what rights they have and how they can protect them.

What is protected?

Copyright does not protect ideas. It protects the expression of an idea. This means that while the idea to write a book about a young wizard is not protected, the expression of that idea (i.e. the latest Harry Potter play) is. This highlights the importance of maintaining confidentiality around your business ideas.

However, copyright still protects an incredibly broad range of materials; company policies, manuals, software, web content and emails.

What rights do you have?

If your work is protected then the next question is what rights do you have? Generally the owner of copyright will hold the right to:

  • reproduce the work in a material form;
  • publish the work;
  • communicate the work to the public; and
  • make an adaptation of the work.

However, although these rights are incredibly broad for your work, they also set out what you can’t do in relation to someone else’s copyright without permission through a licensing arrangement or assignment.

How do you protect them?

Copyright protection is generally seen as going hand-in-hand with the words ‘all rights reserved’ and the well-recognised copyright symbol (©). However, despite their broad use these actually have little to no legal significance. Copyright is automatic and there is no registration system. Having said this the phrase and symbol put others on notice as to who holds copyright in the work

It is therefore important to think carefully about the intellectual property rights that you hold and how you can appropriately protect your work.

For further information on intellectual property rights please contact us.