Who is the first owner?
The Property rights over creative works, such as books, music, art, sound recordings, films or broadcasts. Generally only the copyright owner, or someone who has their permission, can reproduce, publish, copy, perform or broadcast the works. A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. sets out who is automatically the first owner of the copyright in the different types of Relevant or important. For example, material evidence is something that helps to prove an argument in a criminal case., but the parties can always agree to a different ownership arrangement.
Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works
The author of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is normally the first copyright owner. However, there are some exceptions (s 35 Copyright Act).
In general, copyright in a work made by an employee in the course of their employment is owned by the employer, unless there is an express or implied agreement that the employee owns the copyright.
Journalists: Employee journalists own the copyright of their work in relation to its reproduction for some purposes only, while the employer owns the remainder of the copyright.
If you wish to control the use of substantial works produced by you in the course of your employment, you should try to negotiate an agreement with your employer. For example, you could agree that although your employer owns the copyright, you must be identified as the author, and may also reproduce the work (possibly after a period of time has passed since its completion).
Or you could agree that you A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. own the copyright, but grant your employer a perpetual royalty-free licence to reproduce the work. Such agreements should be in writing, and signed by both parties.
The fact that a person has paid for a work to be made (other than a photograph for domestic purposes, or a portrait or engraving) does not mean that they own copyright in it, although they may be permitted to copy it, or exercise other rights of the owner. For example, if a community organisation commissions an artist to prepare a drawing for a flyer, the artist will own copyright in the artwork and the organisation will have an implied licence to reproduce it in the flyer (see ‘Licensing copyright’, below). This means the artist could allow someone else to use the artwork for another purpose. If the organisation wants to control the use of the artwork, it should require the artist to assign copyright in the artwork to the organisation as a condition of the commission (see ‘Legal transfer of some right to use property. For example, putting a lease over farmland into another person’s name, or giving another person copyright in a song you have written. of copyright’, below).
A person who commissions a private or domestic photograph (or the making of a portrait or engraving) (e.g. wedding photos) owns the copyright in the work, but the artist or photographer can prevent the owner from dealing with the work other than for the purpose for which it was commissioned. A photographer is the first owner of photographs commissioned for a commercial purpose.
Sound recordings and films
The first owner of copyright is the maker of the sound recording or film, unless the maker has been commissioned to make the recording or film for another person for payment. In that case, the other person owns the copyright (ss 97, 98).
The maker of a sound recording is the person who owns the first record containing the recording (s 22(3)(b)). This means the owner of the copyright in a sound recording is usually the recording company. However, performers in live performances (including musical and dramatic performances and readings or recitals of literary works) (or their employer) are co-owners of the copyright in a sound recording of the live performance with the owner of the first record containing the recording (s 22(3A), (3B)).
The maker of a film, and therefore the owner, is the person who made the necessary arrangements for the making of the film (s 22(4)(b)). This is normally the film company or the producer. A film director (or the director’s employer) is also an owner of the right to include the film in a re-transmission of a free-to-air broadcast (but not other copyright rights) provided that the film was not commissioned by another person (ss 98).
Copyright is owned by the broadcaster (e.g. the ABC) or the person holding a licence under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) (s 99).
The publisher of an edition of a literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work owns the copyright in the published edition (s 100).
The (1) A common term for the legal power and authority of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. (2) Another name for the prosecution in a criminal trial.
Under sections 176–178 of the Copyright Act, the Commonwealth and the Australian states own the copyright in works made or first published by, and sound recordings and films made by, or under the A legally proper instruction by one person (or body) to another, so that the person is bound to take action, or make a decision, as instructed. Compare dictation. or control of, the Commonwealth or state. This means that copyright in works prepared by independent contractors for the Crown is owned by the Crown, although it would not if the work were done for a non-government body.
In 2005, the Copyright Law Review Committee recommended the abolition of Crown copyright.
Where two or more authors collaborate on a work, and the contribution of each author is not separate from that of the others, they are joint authors, and joint owners of copyright in the work (s 78). This means neither can exercise any of the rights of the owner (such as publishing the work) without the To agree to something being done, to approve an action or arrangement. See also informed consent. of the other. However, one owner can To take legal action in a civil case. for copyright infringement without the participation of the other owner. Where the contributions of the authors are separate (e.g. in a book where different chapters are written by different people) the copyright in each individual contribution is owned by its author.
Ownership of different types of copyright
Where there is more than one type of copyright in material, each type may have a different owner. For example, in a published song, the person who wrote the words owns copyright in them, the person who wrote the music owns copyright in it, and the publisher owns the edition copyright. Copyright in the sound recording is owned by the record company, unless it was made for payment on behalf of another person. The owner of the radio station owns copyright in the sound broadcast of the recorded song.
Do I need to register my ownership of copyright?
There is no system for registering copyright in Australia, although copyright registration exists in some countries (e.g. the USA and China). Ownership of copyright is automatic on the creation of the copyright material.
However, it is a good idea to include a copyright notice in the copyright material. A copyright notice should set out the owner’s name, and the year and place of creation/first publication (e.g. ‘© Fitzroy Legal Formal delivery of legal documents to a person to tell them there are court proceedings against them which they must defend, or to make sure a witness in a case knows when they have to go to court to give evidence. Inc. Melbourne 2021’). Such a copyright notice will require anyone who copies your work to prove that the facts stated in the copyright notice are not true (ss 126A, 126B Copyright Act).
Assignment of copyright
Copyright can be transferred from the initial owner to another person. Assignment of copyright must be in writing and signed by the person assigning the copyright. It is possible to assign the copyright in a work the author has not yet created (e.g. when an artist is commissioned to make a particular work). When copyright material is created, ownership of the copyright automatically transfers to the person acquiring the copyright (s 197 Copyright Act).