What is Copyright?

Copyright is the means by which a person or a business makes a living from creativity. Copyright springs from a simple notion: the people that create, produce or invest in creative work should be the ones that decide how that work should be reproduced and made available to the public.

Enshrined in international law for more than 200 years, copyright provides the economic foundation for creating and disseminating music, literature, art, films, software, and other forms of creative works. Copyright also protects culture and fosters artistic integrity.

Copyright provides that the rights holders determine whether and how copying, distributing, broadcasting and other uses of their works take place. This gives talented people the incentive to create great works, and entrepreneurs the economic reasons to invest in them.

Copyright has underpinned an extraordinary modern economic success story, accounting for tens of millions of jobs worldwide. The dramatic growth of the artistic, cultural and other creative industries in today's major economies would have been impossible without the strong levels of copyright protection that those countries have developed over many decades.

The latest available government estimates in Europe and the United States value copyright-based industries respectively at 360 billion Euros and US$430 billion, representing more than 5% of GDP. As we enter the age of electronic commerce, copyrighted material will be one of the most valuable commodities to be offered and sold on-line.
What is Copyright?
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