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What is copyright?

Copyright legislation protects a range of material including:

  • Textual material or “literary works” – e.g. journal articles, novels, anthologies, screenplays, poems, sheet music, reports, computer programs, etc.
  • Artistic works – e.g. paintings, drawings, cartoons, photographs, sculpture, maps and plans, etc.
  • Dramatic works – e.g. choreography, plays, etc.
  • Films – e.g. feature films, short films, documentaries, animated films and cartoons, television commercials, video podcasts, etc.
  • Sound recordings – musical and non-musical sound recordings, e.g. recorded music, songs, soundtracks, audio books, sound effects, audio recordings of speeches & interviews, audio podcasts, etc.
  • Broadcasts – TV and radio broadcast programs

To be protected by copyright, a work must be ‘original’ and expressed in a material form.

To be considered ‘original’, the creator of the work must have exercised some skill, ingenuity, and labour in making the work.

Copyright does not protect ideas – it protects the expression of the thought, not the idea itself.