Copyright is a legal term used to describe exclusive rights granted to authors, artists and other creators for their creations. These rights, generally, include: reproducing, copying, publishing, translating, adapting and altering, distributing, etc. and are granted automatically following the creation of the work.
Types of Copyrights And Its’ Duration of Protection
- Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works
70 years from the end of the year in which the author died. However, if the work is published after the death of the author, it lasts for 70 years from the end of the year in which the work was first published.
70 years from the end of the year in which the photograph was first published.
- Published editions of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works
25 years from the end of the year in which the edition was first published.
- Sound recordings and films
70 years from the end of the year of release of the sound recording or film.
- Broadcasts and cable programmes
50 years from the end of the year of making the broadcast or cable programme.
70 years from the end of the year of the performance.
For a copyright to be applicable, the work must be original and exist in tangible form such as in writing or as a recording. Ideas or concepts alone are not protected. Copyright does not need to be registered. The author of a work to which copyright applies automatically enjoys copyright protection as soon as the work is expressed in a tangible form.
You do not need to register for copyright protection in Singapore. Copyright is automatically granted as soon as you create and express your original work in a tangible form, such as in a recording or writing.
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your original work.:
- Include a copyright symbol © on your work, followed by your name, and year the work was first created.
Example: © John Tan 2017
This symbol is a notice of your claim to the work. While it does not give you any substantive right, the use of this symbol could come in useful if you are involved in an infringement proceeding. If the infringement party claims that he did not know the material was protected under copyright law, the use of the symbol would generally stop him from successfully relying on this argument.
- Maintain your proof of originality
There are a number of ways you can maintain proof that you are the original author of the work:
- Deposit a copy of your work with your lawyers or in a depositor
- Send a copy of your work to yourself by post, leaving the envelope unopened so that the date stamp and the unopened work could establish the date of the work’s existence
- Make a declaration before a Commissioner of Oath stating the fact of ownership and the date of creation.
However, these are by no means fool proof methods of proving authorship as they do not prove that the work is original or created by the author. In a dispute, the Court will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prove the authorship.