What works are covered / protected by copyright?

The simple answer is – any original work made in any medium whether visual, musical, dramatic, literary, film, video, TV or sound broadcasts, including artworks (paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints of any kind, including photographs).

These images and objects are protected for the entire life of the creator plus 70 years after his or her death, when ownership passes to their heirs or estate.  Reproduction or unauthorised use of any copyright protected material is illegal without the owner’s permission.

Copyright is not ‘registered’: it is an automatic right that can be claimed by any creator of original work and enforced through the courts.

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This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material. The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.