In South Africa there is no official form of copyright registration. All original work is protected by copyright from the moment it is set in physical format. So how do you protect your copyright? You need to prove that you are the creator of the work and you need manage and monitor the distribution of your work where you can.
To protect your copyright, you can:
- Date your work digitally to preserve evidence that your work was in existence at a certain date.
- Send a copy of the work to yourself by ‘Special Delivery’.
- Keep the proof hidden in a safe place (with your solicitor, bank manager or attorney)
What protection does Copyright offer?
If you own the copyright to a piece of work, you possess the sole authority to:
- Copy the work
- Perform, show or play the work in public
- Communicate the work to the public (TV, radio, Internet)
- Issue, lend or rent copies to the public
In South Africa copyright generally lasts for a 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the creator dies.