Copyright, Why is it so Important?

In short, copyright is the legal protection of anything you create such as;

  • Any literary works (including computer programs and compilations)
  • Artistic works (such as paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs etc.)
  • Dramatic works (such as choreography, screenplays plays, etc.)
  • Musical works (the music itself, separate from lyrics & recording)
  • Cinematography Films (the visual images and sounds within a film)
  • Sound recordings (the recording itself)
  • Broadcasts (via TV an radio)
  • Published Editions (Publishers copyrighting their topographical arrangement, which is separate from the works copyrights itself- such as a song or poem)

As a future media creator, knowing the rights to my created art, allows you to have a much more broader range of what you can present to the public as well as how you and the media you create are legally protected from anyone who will attempt to ‘steal’ (for lack of a better word) your art.

This goes by saying however, that the copyrights does not cover your idea entirely., just the way it is expressed. For example someone could use your ideas so write and entirely new script without infringing those copyright laws. So why is this such an important feature to know within the industry?

Rightfully, media is an art form and its information that is critical to learn within the industry if you want to succeed within it. To learn who the copyright laws really belong to, for example, most copyright laws dictate that the person to create the work is the owner, however if you are an employee as part of your job, the employer generally owns the work.In other circumstances, some may argue that the payment for commission of an artwork via another person may suggest that the person who is requesting owns the Copyrights, rather than the artist themselves.

Firstly, this may have an effect on my future works as I aim to become a director as well as a producer; within these roles has two Copyright differences. If you are the director, the film almost always belongs to the Producer, due to them being the one to bring the idea to you to ‘commission’ and as stated above, the copyrights fall to the producer. However if I was a director of that particular film, I would need to understand this in order to gain an understanding of where I stand with my rights as both from an artist as well as a business point of view; AKA the Producer owns the rights to the film/TV show I create.

In conclusion, knowing your rights to all your work is to the upmost important. Before reading about my copyrights I actually had no clue that the Producer owned the work, assuming because the director had created it I naturally thought it fell to them. Knowing the copyrights also allows for your work to become broader and create no set backs within its creation, especially in film where we can face many infringements within a shot if not careful enough.

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