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Copyright and Intellectual Property: Introduction to Copyright


Copyright Basics

Copyright is a legal term  that describes the rights given to the author or creator of certain categories of works. Copyright gives a creator or author rights of ownership over the property of work and they can control the use of work, subject to certain exceptions.
Types of work protected are:
  • original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including illustration and photography
  • original non-literary written work, such as software, web content and databases
  • sound and music recordings
  • film and television recordings
  • broadcasts
  • the layout of published editions of written, dramatic and musical works
Copyright prevents work from being:
  • Copied
  • Distributed
  • Rented or lent
  • Performed
  • Adapted
  • Put on the internet
For a work to be protected it has to be:
1. Original and/or demonstrate adequate skill, labour and judgement to create the work
2. Written or recorded in a fixed form. This includes both digital and physical formats.
3. One of the following eight categories of work:
  •  Literary works - novels, poetry, journal articles, newspapers, letters, tables, manuscripts, song lyrics, computer programs and databases
  • Dramatic works - plays, dance, mime, scripts, screen plays, opera
  • Musical works - musical scores, but the lyrics are regarded as literary works
  • Artistic works - photography, paintings, drawings, sculptures, architecture, graphics, technical drawings/diagrams, map, charts
  • Sound recordings - vinyl records, CDs, recordings of other copyright works e.g. musical and literary
  • Broadcasts - radio and TV broadcasts
  •  Films - films and documentaries
  • Typographical arrangements of published editions - layout and actual appearance of text based works 

How long does a copyright last?

For works published after 1977, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. However, if the work is a work for hire (that is, the work is done in the course of employment or has been specifically commissioned) or is published anonymously or under a pseudonym, the copyright lasts between 95 and 120 years, depending on the date the work is published.

What is a Creative Commons license?

Creative Commons licenses provide a standardized way for authors and creators to grant the public permission to share and use their creative works. Creative Commons licenses mix and match the following elements:

attribution symbol Attribution (BY)
Give credit to the original author
share alike symbol Share Alike (SA)
Distribute derivative works under the same license
non-commercial symbol Non-Commercial (NC)
Only use the work for noncommercial purposes
no derivatives symbol No Derivatives (ND)
Only use verbatim copies of the work
CC BY license CC BY ND license
CC BY SA license CC BY NC SA license
CC BY NC license CC BY NC ND license

What should students know about copyright?

Students within the academic are required to refer to and use a number of work created by others. Much of what a student does while at university is covered by exceptions to copyright.

As a student, you can rely on what’s called ‘fair dealing for research or study’.

This exception allows you to reproduce limited copyright material both for your own reference and in your assignments. 

  • 10% of the pages, or one chapter, from a hard-copy source
  • 10% of the number of words from an electronic source
  • One article from an edition or issue of a periodical
    • More than one article from a single issue or edition is permitted provided the articles are to be used for the same research or course of study

You can also reproduce images and other media in your coursework, but the use must be ‘fair’. In order for the exception to apply, your work (assignments, etc.) must only be available to you, your classmates and your lecturer or tutor for assessment in that course of study.

Information on the Internet:

You might be under the assumption that copyright does not apply to information that you find on the internet. Information found on the internet is covered by copyright for digital publishing. It is better to assume that all information is protected by copyright.

Early on you will be taught how to use referencing style to acknowledge work that you use in your projects and assignments. 

It is also useful to understand how creative commons work. Using information from creative commons and open source material will allow you to avoid some of issues related to permission and copyright during your course of study.

What about copyright of your work as a student?

During the course of your studies if you create any work ie projects, involve yourself in scientific research and publish your results in a journal or present a poster then the work is automatically copyrighted to you.There may be times when the university might request you grant permission to use your work for promotional and educational purposes.

In exceptional circumstances as an undergraduate student or masters student you might have been heavily supported by the university to develop an Intellectual property with clear commercial potential. In such cases there may be an agreement that the sponsoring body will require from creators of intellectual property.


Kingdom of Bahrain Copyright FAQs

• Bahrain is a member of the Berne Convention according to Law no. 30 of 1996 and the WIPO Copyright Treaty according to Law no. 14 of 2004. This membership was effectively translated into the local legislative system, providing wide protection for copyright in respect of both moral and financial rights.
• The Bahraini Copyright Law no. 22 of 2006 as amended (“Copyright Law”) replaced Law no. 10 of 1993, providing wider protection which we consider in some further detail below. Further, copyright protection is not only imposed by the Copyright Law and the Press and Publication Law no. 47 of 2002 sets out certain rights in respect of attribution, publishing and distribution. 
• The Copyright Law extends the protection period to be the authors’ life plus 70 years instead of 50 years, and adding specific provisions in relation to customs and preliminary procedures.