Copyright – Who Has It and How to Protect Your Work

One of the earlier discussions in my CIU111 Creative Media class was on ‘Copyright’. I had a general idea about what copyright is, but I didn’t think of copyright in terms of how to obtain it and how to protect my intellectual property from being used or stolen by others.


The video shown below (which I highly recommend everyone to watch if they are still unsure about what exactly copyright is) is a concise explanation about copyright, copyright infringement and how something obtains copyright status  – simply by creating original work.

However, as an animator like myself, someone who may be working for a studio might wonder if the work they create for the studio belongs to them? Charles Kenny writes that, “If it is work done “for hire” then it does not.” (2011, para 5) Even if it is original content you created, you have waived you’re rights to it unless stated so in your contract. In other industries it is not uncommon for creative talent to hold some rights to their work. For example famous composers such as Hanns Zimmer can retain partial right to their film scores especially if an album is made from the score used in the movie (Gordon, 2015). The key is to research your industry and employer and find what is generally accepted and work from there.

So suppose you create some original work as animator, concept art or even a complete animated piece of work, how do you protect your work from other people claiming it to be their own?

Here are some step you can take –

  • Document your work by saving it on time stamped files, your own personal computer, and a word document even online as a YouTube video. Additionally you do no need to post it publically online, YouTube has the option for private video uploads.
  • Show the process – If you truly have created the work you can prove it by have multiple early versions of it and how it has changed and evolved over time.
  • If the copyright infringement get too serious and leads to possible losses you can build a legal case using methods mentioned above and sue for damages.



Gordon, S. (2017, December 03). Now You Know Everything About Licensing Music for Films. Retrieved December 5, 2017, from

Kenny, C. (2011, July 5). Animators and the Law – Copyright. Retrieved December 14, 2017, from

Lu, C. (2017, March 14). Copyright Symbol. Retrieved December 4, 2017, from


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