The Oxford Dictionary defines “creative” as “relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work”. However, creative outputs can take many forms and such original words can be entitled to copyright protection.
Copyright is an intellectual property right which protects the creative efforts of the creator of various types of original (i.e. uncopied) work, including for example an artistic, musical or written work, computer program or drawing.
There is no requirement or procedure for the registration of copyright in New Zealand or Australia as copyright comes into existence upon the creation of the work.
Copyright gives the creator of a work the exclusive right to allow others to use or copy that work. If you own copyright in a work, you may be entitled to acknowledgement of ownership and a payment if another party uses your work.
The first owner of copyright is generally the "author" or person who creates the work. However, there are exceptions relating to work created during the course of employment or under a commission. It is important to be sure that you own, or have validly licenced, any artistic or literary works you use as a part of your business.
There are variations in the term of protection accorded to the copyright owner depending upon the nature of the copyright work. For instance, copyright will subsist in the musical notation of a song (a literary work) for the lifetime of the author plus 50 years, but copryight will subsist in a particular recording of that music (a sound recording) for only 50 years from the year of creation.
There is no requirement to use the copyright symbol “©” on your work. However, it can be useful to alert others to the copyright in the work. The usual way of doing this is to mark the work with the copyright symbol, the name of the copyright owner, and the year of first publication, e.g. “© Copyright Henry Hughes 2015”.
Updated October 2015