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Are you at risk of copyright infringement?

Are you at risk of copyright infringement?

Award winning and famous British singer, Dua Lipa who won the Grammy awards in 2019 for “Best New Artist” and “Best Dance recording”, faces two lawsuits of copyright infringement which came within a week of each other for 2020 hit "Levitating" which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The first was filed by raggae band Artikal Sound System, that "Levitating" is "substantially similar" to their song in 2017 "Live Your Life", and the second her being sued by songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer for allegedly duplicating the opening melody of “Wiggle and Giggle All Night” and “Don Diablo” to which the copyright belongs to them. According to the complainants, “the notes move in the same direction with evenly matched intervals or ‘steps’, and almost identical rhythms”.

This brings us to the question: What is copyright and what is copyright infringement?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property which protects individual works of authorship and provides exclusive rights to the owner of an original work of authorship. These exclusive rights serve as a deterrence from unsolicited copying of the work, provided that the work is not contrary to public morality. Just like trademarks and patents, copyright grants the owner the monopoly to exploit his work to the exclusion of others so that he shall enjoy all advantages that may accrue as a result of his original work.

Some types of works that may be protected as copyright include movies, poetry, books, eBooks, music, artwork, website content, design of logo, podcasts & episodes. A work must be original and reduced to material form in order to be eligible for copyright protection. Except for cinematograph films, copyright does not require registration, unlike other types of intellectual property.

What constitutes copyright infringement?

“In terms of Section 23(1)(a) of the Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978, direct infringement occurs when someone other than the copyright holder produces unauthorized copying, adaptation, or publication of a work without permission”

Copyright is not infringed when photocopies are made for personal use.

Copying a public speech or lecture for informational reasons, or photocopying government materials for public use, does not constitute copyright infringement.

The duration of copyright protection varies depending on the type of work. For literary, musical, and artistic works (excluding photographs), the duration of copyright endures throughout the lifetime of the owner and 50 years after the death of the owner.

Although the copyright to a work automatically vests in the owner of the work, an owner may seek to take steps to enhance their copyright protection. Advantages of registering for copyright protection includes the following:

  1. It creates a public record of ownership.
  2. It reduces the burden of proof in a litigation matter.
  3. Enforcement of copyright by filing an infringement lawsuit against an infringer.
  4. It protects against unfair competition.

For the above-mentioned reasons, it is always advisable to apply for copyright protection of your original works. For prompt, proficient, and cost-effective IP services and in order to file your copyright contact nma-ip.com