A copyright is an exclusive right granted by law for a term of years to
an author, designer, etc. for his/her original work.
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.
Generally, in respect of written material, the following guidelines apply:
Wherever possible, the author’s permission should be sought to reproduce his /
If in an article, paper or speech, when referring to the work of another, it is
required that details of the reference be provided in the form of the name of
the author and details of his/her publication i.e. title of book or magazine,
publisher, date of publication etc.
If only a small portion of the work is used, say a few sentences or a
paragraph, and provided that an acknowledgement is made, permission is not
If a "significant" section is reproduced, such as a chapter, then permission
should be obtained.
It is generally accepted that work that is being used in academic institutions,
research or for private use may be reproduced.
Another contentious area is the field of music.
Clearly if you were to copy a tape or a CD and sell this, it would represent
copyright infringement (referred to as “pirating”). But when a Dee-Jay at a
party plays CDs, is copyright being infringed?
As a general guide, copyright infringement can be said to occur where the
copyrighted material of others is used for personal gain as opposed to private
or personal use.
Copyright infringement does not occur if you copy a public speech or lecture,
made for information purposes, or photocopy government publications for public
The lifespan of copyright depends on the type of work protected:
The copyright of literacy works lasts for 50 years after the writer has died.
The copyright of computer programs lasts for 50 years after the first copies
were made available to the public.
For sound recordings, the copyright lasts for 50 years
from the day the work was first broadcast.
For films, 50 years from when first made / shown.