As Gauteng lawyers we are often asked questions about copyright. Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally “the right to copy” an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration. In order to be copyrighted, an idea has to have been put down in material form – that is to say the written word, a painting or a recording. An abstract idea cannot be copyrighted. Unless another party has commissioned the work, that work remains the property of the creator, and no-one may print or use it without the owner’s permission.