• Assignment

    The transfer of property or rights from one party to another.

  • Attributed

    To be identified as the work of a particular author.


    The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

  • Authorised agent

    In terms of copyright registration, an authorised agent is someone acting for the copyright owner and has been instructed by the copyright owner to register work on their behalf.

  • Copyrighting, copywritten, copywrite or copywright?

    Copyrighting, copywritten, copywrite or copywright are popular cause for confusion or misspellings. These are dealt with in our page dealing with Common misspellings and misconceptions.

  • Copyright notices

    A notice which is placed on a work to inform others that the work is protected by copyright.

    More details can be found on our fact sheet dealing with copyright notices.

  • Copyright symbol

    The symbol, © or sometimes ℗, that is used to denote copyright. For more information, see our page dealing with copyright symbols.

  • Creative Commons

    Creative Commons is an organisation that provides licensing information aimed at achieving a mutual sharing and flexible approach to copyright.

  • De minimis / de minimis non curat lex
  • ‘De minimis non curat lex’ is a Latin phrase, meaning the law has no interest in trivial matters (literally ’about very little not attention law’). In a legal sense, it means something which is unworthy of the law’s attention.

  • Defamatory

    Use that lowers public opinion or harms a reputation.

  • Derivative work

    A work that is based on (derived from) another work. For example a painting of a photograph.

    As the adaption of copyright work is a restricted act, unless covered under fair dealing rules, the artist will normally require the permission of the copyright owner before making a derivative work. See our derivative work fact sheet for more details.

  • Disclaimer

    A renunciation of liability or claim.

  • Evolution of ideas

    This is defined as evidence that the work progressed over a period of time, rather than being copied from elsewhere, and normally takes the form of development work such as background research, draft versions, rough sketches, first recordings etc.

  • FACT

    The Federation Against Copyright Theft.

  • Fair use or fair dealing

    Acts which are allowable in relation to copyright works under statutory legislation. What constitutes 'fair use' may differ from country to country, but normally includes educational and private study use and news reporting.

  • Footprints

    Footprints are deliberate mistakes or hidden elements that will be known only to you. A typical example would be the software designer who includes redundant subroutines that identify the author in some way.

  • Fundamental revision

    A revision of great significance of a major change.

  • IIPA

    International Intellectual Property Alliance: The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) is a private sector coalition formed in 1984 to represent the U.S. copyright-based industries.

  • Infringement

    The act of copying, distributing or adapting a work without permission.

  • Intellectual property

    A product of the intellect, including copyright works, trademarks and patents.

  • Licence

    An agreement that allows use of a work subject to conditions imposed by the copyright owner.

  • Moral Rights

    Moral rights are concerned with the protection of the reputation of the author. In particular the right to be attributed for the creation of a work, and the right to object to defamatory treatment.

  • Passing off

    Using the work or name of an organisation or individual without consent to promote a competing product or service.

  • Patent

    A grant made by a government that confers upon the creator of an invention the sole right to make, use and sell that invention for a set period of time.

  • Phonogram copyright

    The distinct right applied to an individual sound recording, which will operate separately from rights existing in the underlying musical composition.

  • Royalties

    A share paid to a writer or composer out of the proceeds resulting from the sale or performance of his or her work.


    The acronym originally meant ‘Society of European Stage Authors and Composers’, which is a rather misleading title as the company actually provides performance licenses in the US.

  • Trademark

    A name, symbol, or other device identifying a product or company. Trademarks are registered via national trademark or patent offices and legally restrict the use of the device to the owner.

  • Version Control system

    A system used to record modifications to files, enabling the user to retrieve earlier versions of the work and track development.

  • Watermarks

    Besides a pale imprint embedded in a paper document, watermarks are also algorithms embedded inside a file which can be read by special readers, they are particularly relevant to image files.