Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

How to Register Copyright

Intellectual Property Attorneys

Copyright is different from other forms of intellectual property because copyright does NOT have to be registered in South Africa & the UK. Once the work is created in material form by the creator / author / writer / photographer, it is instantly protected by copyright law and may use the copyright © symbol. The following works, if original, are eligible for copyright protection: Literary Works, Musical Works, Artistic Works (eg. paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs), Cinematograph Films, Sound Recordings, Broadcasts, Programme-carrying Signals, Published Editions of Books, Computer Programs.

Generally, the term of copyright is 50 years, subject to the following:

Literary, Musical or Artistic Works – copyright exists for the life of the author plus 50 years following death, calculated from the end of the year the author died in or 50 years from the date of first publication, performance in public, offering for sale of records thereof or the broadcasting thereof , whichever is later.

Films and Photographs – 50 years from the end of the year in which the work is made publicly available, or the end of the year in which the work is first published, whichever is longer, or fifty years from the end of the year in which the work is made

Sound Recordings – 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording is first published

Broadcasts – 50 years from the end of the year in which the broadcast first takes place

Programme-carrying Signals – 50 years from the end of the year in which the signals are emitted to a satellite

Published Editions – 50 years from the end of the year in which the edition is published

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.

Copyright in the U.S

Copyright registrations in the U.S can be filed through the United Stated Copyright Office by a copyright attorney. The cost estimate of a copyright registration in the US ranges from US$ 50.00 to US$ 200.00 which does NOT include any legal fees or VAT. Feel free to contact us should you have any questions or require assistance with copyright licensing and infringement matters. (2015 estimates)

Copyright & Licensing Agreements

Owners of copyright have the right to compensation or royalties when their works are sold, copied or used. Copyright owners can license or permanently transfer or assign their exclusive rights to others. It is important to note that an assignment and an exclusive license (which precludes anyone else, including the author from using the creation) must be in writing and signed by the assignor to be valid. A non-exclusive license may be written or oral, or inferred from the conduct of the parties.

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More information regarding Intellectual Property:

Copyright Films
It is possible to copyright films in South Africa under the Copyright Act of 1978, because any cinematograph film or storage, fixation, and production such as signalling of data to produce the work fall under the protection. 

Nigeria Trademark Registration
Nigeria is a first to file country and trademark registration is mandatory to be granted rights over a mark.  Nigeria trademarks are valid for 7 years from the filing date and renewable for further periods of 14 years.

Mauritius Trademark Registration
Mauritius trademarks recognise the Nice Classification of goods and services, and allows for multi-class filing. Mauritius trademarks are valid for 10 years from the filing date and renewable for periods of 10 years each upon payment of the renewal fee.

Franchise Agreements
Franchising legal advice is specialised and differs from other areas of law, thus you need find yourself an attorney that specialises in this specific type of law. Franchise attorneys represent the franchisor, as well as the franchisee. 

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