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Do I need to apply copyright for my graphic illustrations and designs before posting on social media and art freelance websites?



Copyright protects works like novels, computer programs, plays, sheet music, and paintings. Generally, the author of a copyrighted work has the right to reproduce, publish, perform, communicate, and adapt his work. These exclusive rights form the bundle of rights that we call copyright and enable the owner to control the commercial exploitation of his work.


Copyright protects the expression of ideas (e.g. words and illustrations). Ideas alone are not protected.


The following may be protected under copyright law:

•Literary works (e.g., written works, source codes of computer programs)

•Dramatic works (e.g.,. scripts for films and dramas)

•Musical works (e.g., melodies)

•Artistic works (e.g., paintings, photographs)

•Published editions of the above works

•Sound recordings


•Television and radio broadcasts

•Cable programmes



There is no need to file for registration to get copyright protection. An author automatically enjoys copyright protection as soon as he creates and expresses his original work in a tangible form, such as in a recording or writing. Originality simply means that there is a degree of independent effort in the creation of the work.


A copyright work created by a Singapore citizen or resident is protected in many countries overseas by virtue of international agreements. Generally, under these international agreements, the work of a Singapore citizen or resident would be protected in countries that signed the agreements as though the work was made there.


In practice, authors have resorted to a number of ways to preserve their interests. They may have:

•Deposited a copy of their work with their lawyers or in a depository

•Sent a copy of their work to themselves by post leaving the envelope unopened so that the date stamp and the unopened work could establish the date of the work’s existence

•Made a declaration before a Commissioner of Oaths stating the facts of ownership and the date of creation


However, these are by no means fool proof methods of proving authorship as they do not prove that the work is original or created by the author. In a dispute, the Court will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prove the authorship.


In practice, the © symbol is usually followed by the year when copies of the work were first made available and the name of the copyright owner. Sometimes there may also be a statement indicating the terms of permitted use. In cases where owners only allow for very limited use, the term “All Rights Reserved” may be found after the symbol.


Attached is the link to the copyright infopack for your easy reference.

IPOS | Copyright Resources

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