Copyright is an important issue that all writers need to familiarise themselves with, for their own protection. Copyright applies to many different forms of creativity, but we are primarily interested here in how it applies to written works: also referred to as literary works. Copyright is a form of legal protection for the creator of a written literary work. In general, it affords the creator exclusive rights to (or rights to authorise someone else to): reproduce the work derive new work based upon the original distribute, sell, rent, lease or lend copies of the work perform the work (in the case of theatrical plays, screenplays, songs etc). It is therefore generally an infringement of the copyright of a literary work to do any of these things (and more) without the written permission of the copyright owner. In this case, copyright applies to 'original' written works. This may include books, novels, instruction manuals, song lyrics or even newspaper articles. Copyright does not apply

to names, slogans, titles or individual phrases. These may, however, be trademarked, which is different to copyrighting. The United Kingdom Patent Office defines an 'original' work: "A work can only be original if it is the result of independent creative effort. It will not be original if it has been copied from something that already exists. If it is similar to something that already exists but there has been no copying from the existing work either directly or indirectly, then it may be original." The USA has similar definitions which should be checked if more relevant to you. All countries have their own similar but subtly different copyright laws and you should check the one most applicable to you. Although you are free to assert your copyright ownership on your own original works by using the familiar © symbol, the year of creation and your name, it is also advisable to register the work in your name to ensure…