"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it."
This thought, divulged publicly by Thomas Jefferson, perfectly expresses the basic concept used in copyright law in Jamaica and most of the world. Copyright - the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record works, and to authorize others to do the same - does not apply to an idea, process, principle, factual information, names or short phrases under the Jamaican law. Intellectual property covered by the Act includes literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works; film, broadcast and cable programmes; sound recordings and typographical arrangements of published editions.
To put it simply, for works to be considered under the Copyright Act of Jamaica, which can be found at http://www.moj.gov.jm/laws/statutes/The%20Copyright%20Act.pdf, your work has to be recorded in some tangible way. If you choose to divulge it publicly before doing so, as Jefferson said, it is then possessed by all who happen upon it. The question we must ask, however, is when someone records original work, how does one go about ensuring he/she is covered and to what protection is this individual entitled.
All that is needed to prove intellectual property ownership is the factual evidence the work was created by the individual and proof of the date it was created. The simplest and most effective way to do this is by recording your work, whether on paper, disk or otherwise depending on the nature of the work, along with your full name (you may also include some personal detail about yourself no one else would know), and mail it to yourself through the post office. Upon receiving it, leave it closed. You can now prove that the work was created by you on or before the postmarked date on the envelope/package.
The owner of copyrighted works is entitled to both exclusive rights and moral rights. With exclusive rights, the creator(s) of the work has the sole right to use or authorize others to use the work on terms agreed on mutually. Moral rights includes the right of the copyright holder to be identified as the author and the right to object to one's name being attributed to something one did not create, to prevent potential damage to reputation. This is also give the creator the right to object to derogatory treatment of one's work.
Copyright protection, once obtained, is limited. It doesn't last forever. Typically, all works attributed to an author is protected by copyright for the author's lifetime plus fifty (50) years from the end of the calendar year which the author has passed. If the author is unknown, copyright protection lasts for 50 years from the end of the calendar year of which the work was created.
Therefore, the best thing to do if you wish to be covered under the copyright law is to ensure your work is original, that you have proof of ownership and the date the work was created. Do not present it publicly before this is done. If you have followed these guidelines and your copyright protection has been infringed upon, don't forget Assamba Law is here to help.