How to Register a Copyright

How to Register a Copyright

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What is a copyright?

A copyright is an exclusive right that is given to authors or designers for their original work.

There are certain works that can be copy written. These include:

  • Literary works (books and novels)
  • Musical works
  • Artistic works (drawings and paintings)
  • Cinematograph films
  • Sound recordings
  • Broadcasts
  • Programme-carrying signals
  • Published editions
  • Computer programs

Copyright Infringement

The following acts infringe copyright laws:

  • Not providing acknowledgement when you are copying or citing from another author’s work
  • Making photocopies not meant for private use
  • With regards to written material, the following guidelines apply:
    • The author’s permission should be sought to reproduce his/her work whenever possible
    • If in an article, paper or speech, when referring to the work of another, it is required that details of the reference be provided
    • If only a small portion of the work is used, say a few sentences or a paragraph, acknowledgement still needs to be made
    • It is essential that permission is obtained if a “significant” section is reproduced
    • It is usually accepted that work that is being used in academic institutions, research or for private use may be reproduced
  • If you are copying music to resell, this is a direct copyright infringement
  • When copyrighted material is being used for commercial gain you are infringing.

Related: Copyright Ownership

The lifespan of a copyright will depend on the work that has been registered:

  • Literacy works: 50 years after death of the author
  • Computer programs: 50 years after the first copies were made available to the public
  • Sound recordings: 50 years from the day the work was first broadcast
  • Films: 50 years from the date the film was shown

Copyright Forms and Fees

There are a large number of forms that are required for copyright registration depending on what type of work you want to register. You can download all necessary forms here.


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The CIPC website will be able to provide you with any other information that you might require or want to keep on hand such as FAQ’s, the copyright act and regulations.

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