by KAM Choy Yin

According to the definition of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), copyright is a law that gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine how other people can use it. Some examples of works eligible for copyright protection are literature, music, paintings, sculptures, films, computer programmes, database, advertisements, maps, technical drawings and so on.

In most countries including Malaysia, Singapore, China and Indonesia, under the provisions of the Berne Convention, copyright protection is automatically obtained without registration or other formalities. As to the duration of the protection, the general rule is that the protection must be granted until the expiration of the 50th year after the author’s death. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. A member country could provide for a longer term of protection.

Even though copyright protection is automatically granted, many countries nonetheless have a system to allow for voluntary registration of works. This system helps resolve disputes involving ownership of authorship and facilitates economic transactions, sales and transfers.

Copyright laws are territorial. In other words, they do not apply to countries that are not party to the Berne Convention. As such, if you wish to protect your work internationally, you must research and make sure that you comply with the relevant legal requirements in the country in which you wish your work to be protected.

Know a little more:

The Berne Convention, or the Berne Convention for Literary and Artistic Works, is the first international agreement governing copyright. The agreement was first signed on 9 September 1886. Currently, the Berne Convention has 191* contracting parties from all over the world.

Source: Official website of WIPO 

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