Copyright registration is unnecessary for articles or work on the Internet since copyright is automatically implied the moment that an original creative idea takes tangible form. As such one doesn’t have to register website content. The problem with this is that many web users mistake content on the web as free to use as they wish because they don’t see a copyright registration mark.

The copyright registration mark certainly helps to deter would be infringes and as such it is recommended that you place it at the bottom of your web pages together with the words Copyright Registered, the symbol © and the year. You can also add the copyright registered mark at the bottom of your articles. You may not, however, use the mark on any work not belonging to you or for which you don’t have copyright licensing rights to usage.

Authors, artists, photographers, musicians, and dramatists thus have immediate copyright over their work. Such copyright goes along with certain rights. The question is often to whom the copyright belongs. If the work has been commissioned in terms of a photograph and paid for by the person who commissioned such the copyrights go to that person without the need for copyright registration or a license.

When a journalist works at a newspaper, the journalist retains authorship and the right to acknowledgement, but since the newspaper has provided the resources, employed the journalist for the purpose of writing articles and pays the journalist for such, the copyrights belong to the newspaper. When it comes to computer programs it becomes even more complicated. If the programmer has created the work in the employment of the company and in company hours with the resources of the company, the work will belong to the company, but when the programmer has done so in his or her own time and with their own resources, do the copyrights still belong to the company?

Contact one of our copyright attorneys for more information regarding services related to copyright laws and litigation in South Africa. Call us: +27 (0) 12 349 7800 or

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Salomé le Roux  Noelle Pearson

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