What is Copyright?
Copyright, which simply means the right to copy, is a collective term for a bundle of economic and moral rights granted by law to creators of original 'works of the mind' in literature, drama, art and music.
The Jamaica Copyright Act 1993
The Jamaica Copyright Act 1993 gives these creators the sole right to publish, distribute, reproduce or authorise the reproduction of their works in any form. This protection given by the Copyright Act comes into effect as soon as the work is put into a fixed form. It is therefore not necessary to register copyright or claim copyright by printing the copyright symbol © on the work. Use of the copyright symbol however, identifies the copyright holder and reminds persons that the work is protected by copyright.
The purpose of copyright
Copyright is the means by which creators benefit from their intellectual property - the work they have created - and is essential to human creativity. Through copyright, creators receive financial reward for their efforts and recognition of the importance of their intellectual property to the development of society. Without protection and financial reward, there would be little incentive for creators to produce new works.
Copying of all or part of a work without the permission of the copyright holder or without a licence is an infringement of copyright unless there is a statutory exception to such use of the work. Infringement of copyright is similar to theft of tangible property.
Examples of Infringement & infringing acts
Therefore, if you do not have the copyright holder's permission or a licence to do any of the following and there is no statutory exception you might be infringing copyright if you:
- Copy the work - whether in part or whole;
- Issue copies of the work to the public;
- Adapting the work whether by translation or dramatisation; or
- Authorise another persons (implied or otherwise) to do any of the above acts
It is important to note that just one act of copying could infringe the copyright of the author of the text, the artist who created the illustrations, the photographer whose photographs appear in the publication as well as the publisher who published the work.
Examples of infringement include:
- Scanning publications - whether in part of whole, including illustrations, photographs, diagrams and tables and
- inserting them into course workbooks or coursepacks
- making it available on the internet or an intranet
- Copying of a work - whether in part of whole by an educational institution for the purpose of teaching or giving instruction
Persons involved in the administration of institutions and organisations may be held personally liable for copyright infringement by staff and other employees.