Generally speaking, for a person who has created a piece of work, they are automatically the owner of the copyright. However, in cases where a person has been commissioned to do a piece of work, or if it falls within the scope of their employment, the copyright will belong to the employer.
Does the Copyright of My Work Need to Be Registered?
Due to the autonomous nature of copyright law in South Africa, owners simply have to mark their work with a copyright warning like this, ©, and the name of the author and year of creation. Your work therefore does not have to be registered for copyright, unless you have created a film whereby a copyright lawyer can help you register. The copyright therefore exists inherently upon creation of the work if it is in the class of work recognised by the Copyright Act.
Which Categories of Work Are Eligible for Copyright?
In the Copyright Act, there are nine classes of work that are protected by the copyright law in South Africa. In order to ensure that ideas are protected, your work should fall under these categories:
Copyright exists intrinsically for all the above mentioned works, however, to register films or to commercialise copyright successfully, you may want the help of a professional and experienced copyright law attorney.
What Can a Copyright Law Attorney Help You With?
A copyright law attorney can assist clients with all matters that relate to the copyright law in South Africa, and on an international scale. The services offered by copyright lawyers generally include:
Registration of copyright for films
Criminal litigation services
Drafting royalty agreements, licenses and assignments
Clarification on the various rights of copyright
Expert advice into IT and computer law
If you need expert legal advice on your copyright, be sure to make use of the services offered by esteemed copyright lawyers.