1What is a Copyright?
Copyright is a legal term describing the rights of the authors of literary, scientific and artistic works and works in other fields of creative endeavours.
2Which rights are protected by copyright?
Original authors of works protected by copyright and their heirs have certain rights vis-à-vis all third parties. They have an exclusive right to use a work, or allow others to use it, on agreed terms. The creator of a work can give a permission or prohibit:
  • Reproduction of his work in different forms;
  • Public performance of his work;
  • Recording of his work on lasting tangible carriers;
  • Broadcasting of his work on the radio, cable or satellite;
  • Translations of his work into other languages or other adaptations of his work.
Many works of authorship protected by copyright require mass distribution and communication to the public, which are associated with sizeable cash investments into their dissemination. For that reason, authors often assign the rights to their works to individuals or legal entities with a view to securing the best marketing of their works. Charges related to the consumption of the work depend on the circumstances of the actual use of the work and they are called royalties. Under the applicable WIPO Treaties, the property rights of the author last for the life of the author and 70 years after his death (the Law on Copyright and Related Rights also provides for the 70-year post mortem duration of protection). This period enables the authors and their heirs to enjoy material benefits in a reasonable time period of the exploitation of the work. Copyright protection also covers moral rights of the author, which inter alia, include the right of authorship (the right to be recognized as the author of his work), the right to oppose the alterations of his work which could damage the standing and reputation of the author. The author or the owner/holder of a copyright to a work can exercise his right in administrative procedures or before courts with jurisdiction in rem and territorial jurisdiction, and he can request a search of premises for the purpose of finding evidence of manufacture or possession of illegally made copies of protected works (measures aimed at pirated copies of the work). The owner/holder of the right may request a court order for a ban on the performance of certain activities, and he can also request to be compensated for the material damage and the violation of moral rights.
3What are related rights?
The rights related to copyright constitute a field which has developed very rapidly over the last fifty years. Related rights were developed in connection with the exploitation of works protected by copyright and they comprise similar rights, of a limited scope and a shorter duration. The related rights, under the Law on Copyright and Related Rights (SaM Official Gazette, no. 61/04), include:
  • The rights of performers;
  • The rights of phonogram producers;
  • The rights of videogram producers;
  • The rights of database producers;
  • The rights of broadcast producers;
  • The right of the first publisher of a free work.
The WIPO concept differentiates between:
  • The rights of performers;
  • The rights of phonogram producers (producers of sound recordings);
  • The rights of broadcasting organizations.
4How is copyright regulated? Do you need to register to be protected?
Copyright itself does not depend on official procedures. A created work is considered protected by copyright as soon as it exists. According to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, literary and artistic works are protected without any formalities in the countries party to that Convention. Thus, WIPO does not offer any kind of copyright registration system. However, many countries have a national copyright office and some laws allow for registration of works for the purposes of, for example, identifying and distinguishing titles of works. In certain countries, registration can also serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to disputes relating to copyright. Many owners of creative works do not have the means to pursue the legal and administrative enforcement of copyright, especially given the increasingly worldwide use of literary, musical and performance rights. As a result, the establishment of collective management organizations or societies is a growing trend in many countries. These societies can provide members the benefits of the organization’s administrative and legal expertise in, for example, collecting, managing, and disbursing royalties gained from international use of a member’s work.