understanding copyright (live blog)

Was in the copyright workshop this afternoon and I found a few things quite interesting.

It’s interesting that in the US copyright is a “property right” while in Europe it’s a “human right”.

While in SA you do not have to register your copyright, in the US you can register it. It’s also interesting to note that in the USA you must have to copyright symbol (©) on the work. If you’re going to send you books there (this includes selling on Amazon or Smashwords), keep that in mind.

In SA, copyright exists the moment you create your work. You can assign copyright to a publisher or licence some of your copyright to a publisher for a certain period.


  • You can’t copyright ideas or facts
  • You can’t copyright titles – but as the facilitator, Kate McCallum, pointed out, it would be foolish to choose a title that already exists because that would create confusion which could result in possible loss of sales/income
  • Your letters are your copyright
  • Copyright isn’t forever

As a writer you will have to deal with getting permission to use copyrighted work and also giving other’s permission to use your work. The best advice heard today is: if you aren’t sure whether you can use a song, a poem, a photograph, paragraphs from a book – always ask for permission. This will save you from being sued for plagiarism or copyright infringement. And always credit.

There’s so much more on this topic, I think I should post a series of blogs. Keep an eye out for that.