• Course Code:  JN10

  • Term:  Self paced

  • Open for Enrollment

  • Self-paced

  • Course Author(s)
    Chris Elliott
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Copyright - how to protect it, how not to breach it

Self paced

  • Circles
    Thomson Foundation


Please contact journalismnow@thomsonfoundation.org if you are having difficulties enrolling into this course

Every day the issue of copyright is debated in newsrooms across the world as the digital age makes it so much easier to copy material at the touch of a mouse. Therefore understanding the law of copyright is even more important for a journalist today.


The difficulties of settling copyright disputes in a digital age were illustrated by an important South African court case in which one business site, Moneyweb, sued another, Fin24, for copyright infringement in relation to seven articles.


The South Gauteng high court found that Fin24 infringed the copyright of one Moneyweb article in 2013, after copying and republishing a substantial part of it, and was ordered to pay damages.

However, the court said there was no infringement in the other six articles.


That is an illustration of the complexity of the rules of copyright and what happens when a dispute arises. In this module we hope to give you some clear and simple guidance that will help you to avoid such pitfalls.


The EJN has created this training module to help journalists in Africa become more aware of their rights and responsibilities in terms of copyright.  We are using mostly Ghanaian journalists, editors and lawyers to explain how they deal with copyright issues.


Whether you are a staff or freelance journalist, working in text or pictures, if you follow the course, watch these videos and do the exercises you will be better prepared to protect your own material and respect the material of others.  Hopefully you will also be inspired to do more research on the issue of copyright in your organisation and country.


Overview - We begin by looking at the legal terms and what copyright means for a journalist.


Section One: – The copyright law and what it means.


Then we will look at two main areas – rights and responsibilities.


Section Two:  Your rights over your original material:


●       How to maintain your copyright.

●       How to track your text and pictures on line if you think someone has used your work without permission or attribution.

●       How to watermark your images so that it is more difficult to use them without permission.


Section Three:  Your responsibilities to others and their rights:


●       How to respect the copyright when referring to the work of other journalists.

●       How to work within the law – when can you copy someone else’s material

●       When do you need to pay for material



By the end of the course:

●       You will understand what copyright is and why it is important to do everything you can to safeguard it.

●       You will have learned some practical tips that will help you maintain your own copyright.

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Copyright - how to protect it, how not to breach it


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