Originally, authors, journalists and individuals involved in printing and publishing found a specific need to protect their work from unauthorized copies. This began nearly from the early days of printing presses. Thus, legislation was first passed in England during the 18th century which confirmed the right to retain ownership of original works and required permission to make copies. Hence, the name “copyright” came to be recognized as the right of writers, musicians, photographers and all proprietary drawings, i.e., maps, engineering and architectural, as well as many scientific formulas, hi-technology and recordings to retain full ownership if their work held a copyright.
Historically, prior to copyright laws, valuable documents and literary works could be freely copied, altered or reinterpreted without the consent of the original author. Authorities pursuing legislation based their opinions on natural laws of ownership in conjunction with the right to copyright their work and defined literary piracy in clearer terms. Huge profits were made prior to copyright laws whenever reprints were made. These profits often bypassed owners of originals.
Eventually, in 1886, copyright laws were agreed upon internationally and reaffirmed again in 1952. Numerous disputes of ownership would have occurred in the earliest days of printing history without specific guidelines. At present, copyright laws clearly define rights and help avoid lengthy disputes. In addition, copyright laws also protect the consumer. Copyright laws vary in terms of copyright renewal, length of time a copy right applies and eligibility for a copyright.
Copyrights can be transferred with permission of the holder of the copyright. Most professionals who create original works consider copyright an important step in establishing their reputations.