Copyright arises automatically when you create an original work such as:

  • any written work, including product literature and website wording
  • an artistic work such as a drawing or painting
  • a computer program
  • a photograph
  • a sculpture
  • a piece of music

Copyright protects the way that things are expressed rather than the ideas behind them. So, for example, it won’t protect a new invention and you need patent protection for this. However if another company blatantly copied your engineering drawings or product literature, you could have a case for copyright infringement.

To take action for copyright infringement, you must be able to demonstrate that the infringer actually copied your work. If they independently came up with something very similar, you can’t take action under copyright law.

It is important to keep records of new copyright works, and dated paper copies are better for this purpose than computer records.