Associations and institutions are welcome to apply to become members of the ALCC.
Generally copyright is owned by the creator of the material.
Determining who owns copyright is an important part of the copyright system. In the first instance, the person who created the material is generally the copyright owned. The terminology assigned to the creator depends if the material is a work or other subject-matter.
Authors of works
As a general rule, the author of a literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work is the first copyright owner. For photographs, ‘the person who took the photograph’ is the author.
Makers of other subject matter
Similarly, generally speaking, the maker of a sound recording, film or broadcast is the first copyright owner of that material. The publisher of an edition of a work or works is the copyright owner of a published edition.
Situations where the original author or maker may not be the copyright owner
There are exceptions to the general rules. For example, the copyright owner may co-own copyright with multiple creators or the owner of copyright may not be the original author or maker where:
Where there are multiple creators
Where materials are created together by more than one author, they will co-own the copyright as joint authors. You need the permission of all joint authors to make use of the material. They even need each others’ permission before they can use it.
If work are just placed next to each other (e.g. multiple poems in an anthology) they do not become joint works. Each creator separately owns the copyright in each poem.
Material created in an employee–employer relationship
Another exception is that material created by employees as part of their employment is generally the copyright of the employer. Whether something is created as part of your employment will depend on all the facts, such as whether you were directed to make it by your employer, whether you worked on it during your working hours, and whether you used your employer’s equipment.
Created under the terms of a contract
In relation to contracting the creation of works or other subject-matter, who owns the copyright will depend on the contract. For photographs, portraits, engravings, sound recordings and cinematographic films there is a specific rule that say the person who commissioned or contracted the creation of the material owns the copyright. In other circumstances, look to the terms of the contract to determine if rights in the material created fall to the author or the contracting party.
In situations where material is Crown copyright, the Crown is the copyright owner of that material.
Rights have been transferred to another party
Of course, the original copyright owner may have transferred rights to another party through a legal instrument such as a copyright licence, a will or an assignment of rights. Validly executed, the beneficiary of the legal instrument becomes the copyright owner.
Subsequent owners of the copyright may also have transferred their interest to other parties through a legal instrument. Finding out who is the current copyright owner often requires identifying the the first copyright owner (i.e. the original author or maker), then tracing the transfers of rights from the author or maker through each subsequent owner until you arrive at the current owner.