Copyright does protect website content. Many website owners never take action against third parties that have copied content from their website without prior permission or full acknowledgement through the correct citation. It occurs because the site owners don’t know their rights under copyright law. Many mistakenly believe that under copyright law the work must first be registered as copyright protected. Fortunately not. The moment that an idea takes tangible form such as a photo, image, article etc. it already enjoys protection against copying without prior permission and the required citation. This affords website owners more power to act against the perpetrators under copyright law. If however, you want to ensure that your website content is not copied and have legal grounds to stand on, you may want to get in the help of attorneys specializing in copyright law who will be able to provide guidance on the correct steps.
In general, any original work made by a qualified person is eligible for copyright protection. Originality refers to the fact that the author must have created the work through the application of the author’s own creativity and labour. A qualified person refers to any national or resident of South Africa or a Berne Convention country.
What constitutes copyright infringement?
Making photocopies for private use is NOT an infringement of copyright. Copying a public speech or a lecture does NOT constitute infringement. No infringement results if work is acknowledged when one is copying or citing from another author’s work.