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Original Designs are Automatically Protected in Australia

Updated: Feb 29

Do you know that your creative designs, like logos, get automatic protection in Australia? Let's delve into what this means for you and your creativity.

1. The Basics of Logo Protection

In Australia, logos can be protected by copyright as a form of artistic work. This means if you've created a logo, you generally own it, unless you've agreed otherwise with someone. If someone else uses your logo without permission, they could be breaking the law.

2. What is Copyright?

You don’t have to register your logo or design to have it protected by copyright in Australia. It's like magic! As soon as you create it, it's protected. This protection usually lasts for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years. Even if you sell your work, the copyright can still be owned by someone else.

3. How are Logos Protected?

Your logos could be protected as "artistic works." This category includes things like drawings, paintings, and, of course, logos. Even something as simple as a stylised letter might be protected, just like some musical equipment makers have found out.

4. Who Owns the Copyright?

Unless there's a special agreement, you, the creator, usually own the copyright. But remember, you need to check all the rules if you're working for the government or another special situation.

5. What Rights Do You Have as an Owner?

As an owner, you have exclusive rights like copying, publishing, and communicating your work to the public. It's like having a golden ticket to control your creations. These rights can be sold, or you can allow others to use them under certain conditions.

6. What Happens If Someone Uses Your Work Without Permission?

If someone uses your logo without permission, they may be in trouble. Even if they change parts of it, they might still be breaking the law. It's like baking a cake with someone else's secret recipe and changing one or two ingredients; it doesn't make it yours.

7. Other Protections: Trade Marks and More

Besides copyright, logos might also be protected as trade marks. If someone uses your logo without permission, they might be breaking multiple rules. Unlike copyright, trade marks do need to be registered, and there's a fee for that. So, if you want this extra layer of protection, you'll need to register your logo with IP Australia.

8. Some Practical Tips and FAQs

  • Copying Existing Designs: If someone asks you to copy an existing logo, think twice. Both you and the person who asked you might be in trouble.

  • Ownership Confusion: Paying someone to create a logo doesn't mean you own the copyright. Make sure to have a clear agreement.

  • Special Fonts and Styles: Be careful when using special fonts or another designer's style. Always check the rules and ask for information if needed.

Need More Information?

If you need more in-depth guidance or have questions, the Australian Copyright Council offers plenty of resources and even free preliminary legal advice for professionals. They have helpful fact sheets and seminars available on their website.

In Australia, your creativity is precious and protected. Knowing the rules around copyright will help you make the most of your artistic talents. Be original, be creative, and always remember, your art is uniquely yours!


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