Copyright is the body of law that grants authors, artists and other creators protection for their original works of art, literature, music, films, broadcasts and software (generally referred to as “works”) against unauthorised copying or use.
Works eligible for copyright protection are, as a rule, all original intellectual creations. Copyright law protects only the form of expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. The ideas in the work do not need to be new but the form, be it literary or artistic, in which they are expressed must be an original creation of the author.
There is no registration system for obtaining a copyright protection. The exclusive right is automatically vested to an author of an original work upon creation.
Protection is independent of the quality or the value attaching to the work and even of the purpose for which it is intended.
The owner of copyright in a work is generally, at least in the first instance, the person who created the work, that is to say, the author of the work. The original creators hold the exclusive right to use or authorize others to use the work on agreed terms.
Copyright protection includes:
1. Moral rights, to protect personality of author, meaning the right to claim authorship of a work, and the right to oppose changes to the work that could harm the creator’s reputation. Moral rights always belong to the author of the work and can not be assigned.
2. Economic rights, to bring economic benefits. Creators often sell the economic rights (they cannot assign the moral rights) to individuals or companies better able to market the works in return for compensation in the form of payments and/or royalties.
The economic rights relating to copyright are of limited duration, beginning with the creation and fixation of the work, and lasting for not less than 50 years after the creator’s death. National law may establish longer terms of protection.
Over the last decades, a new field of rights related to copyright has developed quickly. These so-called “related rights” belong to owners regarded as intermediaries in the production, recording or diffusion of works and provide similar rights, although often more limited and of shorter duration, to performing artists, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations.