Friday, May 6, 2011

Intellectual Property questions

1. What is intellectual property and is it the same as copyright?

Intellectual property is a term which covers several areas of the law regarding the creation of an item; and is different to copyright because copyright falls under the category of intellectual property along with others such as moral rights and trademarks.

2. How would you register your design for copyright and how much would it cost?

There is no need to register a design for copyright because it is automatically covered when a design is created. There are no costs involved. Where copyright is free and automatic - you need to register and pay for trademarks and patents.

3. I have an idea about a logo design, is it covered by copyright?

An idea isn’t covered by copyright until it is actually made, going from an idea to a design.

4. What is the name of the federal legislation covering copyright law in Australia?

The Act which covers copyright in Australia is the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

5. What does Copyright protect?

Copyright protects artistic, dramatic and musical works (including compilations and sound recordings), films, publications, text material, and computer programs.

6. What is the Copyright notice and its purpose?

The copyright notice - © - is the symbol which is used to let people know that a piece of work has a copyright owner. An example of its use would be- ©Nicole Walsh 2011.

7. What evidence could you provide to a court to prove you’re the copyright owner of a logo you’ve designed?

When designing a logo you would need to keep the original sketches or files that show working from the beginning (an idea) to the end finished product.

8. If an artwork appears in an Art Gallery, does the Gallery own copyright for that item?

No they don’t, they only own a licence to use the artwork.

9. If I’m employed by a company as their in-house graphic designer, who would generally own the copyright?

The company would own the copyright of the works you produce for them.

10. If I’m working as a freelance Graphic Designer and create a logo for a company, who would generally own the copyright for the logo?

You would generally own the copyright of the logo, unless the contract you both sign stipulates the copyright belongs to the client.

11. How much of an artistic work can I safely use without infringing on copyright?

You can use a little bit as long as it isn’t a majorly recognisable element of the design, or an important part of the design. It is never a good idea to use copyrighted material without permission anyway.

12. If you’ve done everything in your power to identify the copyright owner but they won’t contact you back, is it ok to use the work without permission as long as you use a ‘good faith notice’ stating you were unable to contact them?

‘Good faith notices’ do not count for much because if you use the work you are still breaching copyright, so it is not particularly a good idea to go ahead and use it without knowing for sure.

13. Who is VISCOPY and what might they come in handy for?

VISCOPY (the Visual Arts Copyright Collecting Society) are a rights management organisation who represent Australian and New Zealand visual artists. They can come in handy if you come across an artwork you want to use and are unsure if the artwork is copyrighted.

14. What are moral rights?

Moral rights are the creators rights, weather or not they own the copyright. These rights allow them to challenge the copyright owner if they believe they have changed or misused a design of theirs.

15. How would you go about obtaining copyright clearance for an artwork you want to use that you’ve found on the internet?

You could contact the web host, or the owner of the site, to find out who owns the copyright of the artwork. If that doesn’t work you can contact associations such as VISCOPY, Aboriginal Artists Agency, Australian Commercial and Media Photographers, AGDA, Craft Australia, Australian Institute of Professional Photography and NAVA. These associations may be aware of the art you are trying to use and know who to contact to get permission.

16. What is a Trademark and how do you register one?

A trademark is something you can register (a logo, image, smell, etc) which your business uses that is an integral part of your identity. You register one by going to and paying a fee.

17. What does a Patent protect?

Patents protect invention methods, techniques and processes, as long as the invention is new, innovative, and is useful.

18. Define Defamation.

Defamation is when someone’s reputation has been tarnished by the actions (including designs and photographs) of someone else.

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