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  • Intellectual property framework

    Overview

    Protection of intellectual property rights is required by the Federal Constitution and by several multilateral treaties. The main statutes in this area are federal statutes. However, in case of litigation, some matters are subject to federal jurisdiction, and others to provincial jurisdiction.

  • Commercial contract framework

    Overview

    Commercial contracts are governed by the Civil and Commercial Code. This code came into effect in 2015 and it replaces the previous separate Civil Code and Commercial Code. It is part of the federal legislation, but jurisdiction regarding its implementation and litigation resulting thereunder corresponds primarily to the provincial courts.

    The Civil and Commercial Code includes general provisions on contracts, which are applicable to all contractual transactions. These provisions govern matters such as the formation of contracts, offer and acceptance, possible subject matter of contracts, legal formalities, the legal effects of contracts, contract termination and others.

    In addition, the Civil and Commercial Code includes provisions applicable to specific types of contracts, such as sale agreements, leases, franchise agreements and agency agreements. More than 30 types of agreements are subject to specific provisions of this kind. These specially regulated agreements are thus subject to the general rules applicable to contracts –described above – and to the special rules applicable to the relevant type of agreement. Agreements that are not subject to special rules are nevertheless valid, and they are governed primarily by the general contract rules and – to the degree possible – by the rules applicable to analogous specially regulated contracts.

    Other laws include provisions on specific types of commercial contracts. For instance, the Copyright Law includes certain provisions of contracts related to software and to publishing; the Patent Law includes rules on license agreements; and the Insurance Law includes rules on insurance contracts. However, in all these specially regulated contracts, the general contract law rules included in the Civil and Commercial Code are also applicable.

    Commercial contracts with the federal or provincial governments or with other governmental entities are also governed by administrative law. Special rules on contracts with state entities have been included in federal or provincial laws, or have been developed by case law.

  • Copyrights

    Nature of right

    Copyright protects intellectual creations in all fields of science, art and literature. Article 1 of the Copyright Law includes a non-exhaustive list of possible intellectual works protected by copyright. These include, among others, literary and artistic works, music, architectural works and software.

    Copyright protects intellectual expressions, but not ideas. For example, the contents of a book in terms of sentences and other literary expressions are protected by copyright, but the creative idea underlying the book as a whole is not.

    Copyright results from the creation of an intellectual work. Registration is not necessary for copyright to exist, although it is necessary for the exercise of some rights by local authors. Upon creation of a protected work, copyright belongs to the original author or authors, who then may transfer their right, by contract or by the operation of certain legal rules.

    Copyright includes economic and moral rights. Economic rights consist, basically, in the exclusive right to use and exploit the protected work. The Copyright Law lists some of the elements of this exclusive right, such as the right to reproduce the relevant work, to market copies, to prepare derivative works or to have the work performed publicly.

    Moral rights include the so call "integrity right" – that is, the right to preserve the text, title and other contents of the work, even if property rights on such work have been assigned; the "paternity right," the author’s right to be named and identified as such together with the work; the "publication right," the right to decide whether the right will be published; and the "alteration right," the right to modify the work, even after it has been published. Moral rights belong to the author and they are generally non-assignable.

    Legal framework

    Copyright law is included in Law 11, 723, as amended. In addition, multiple laws and regulations govern matters such as related rights, publishers' rights and collective management societies.

    Argentina is part of the main multilateral international copyright agreements, such as the Trips Agreement, the Berne Convention and the Rome Convention. The provisions of these agreements are actively enforced by the courts.

    Duration of right

    The general rule is that copyright protection lasts for a term of seventy years, counted as of January 1 of the first year after the death of the author, as well as through the life of the author.

    In the case of work done through cooperation, the 70-year term is computed from the death of the last person who participated in the joint authorship of the work involved.

    In the case of posthumous works, the 70-year term is computed from the death of the author.

    The duration of protection of anonymous works whose copyright belongs to institutions, corporations or legal entities is 50 years from the date of publication of the work.

    Special rules on copyright duration apply to specific types of copyrightable works, such as photographs and cinematographic works.

    Ownership / licenses

    The basic rule is that ownership belongs to the author. Special rules have been developed in connection with special types of works, such as cinematographic works, derivative works and software.

    There are several types of joint ownership. It may apply to works done through cooperation, which imply a creative collaboration between different authors; to collective works, which are those created through the initiative or direction of one or more individuals, who coordinate or direct the efforts of several other individuals to achieve a joint result; and to composite works, which are the result of adding different separate works, each with a possible separate author and owner, into one final result.

    Works created by employees who have been hired for that purpose belong to the employer.

    Copyright may be subject to licenses, generally as part of broader contractual arrangements such as publishing agreements.

    Remedies for infringement

    Damages may be claimed before civil courts for all types of copyright violation. Registration of works is not necessary, except for local authors, whose rights may be suspended until registration takes place.

    It is also possible to file civil action to prevent further copyright violation, and to obtain preliminary remedies, such as injunction, in the course of civil procedures.

    Criminal remedies, particularly fines, are possible, but are not frequently applied.

  • Mask works / topographies

    Nature of right

    Mask works and topographies are not separately protected under Argentine law. They may be protected under patent law or by way of confidentiality.

    Legal framework

    Argentina has enacted no specific rules on chip protection. Although Argentina is part of the WTO and has approved the Trips Agreement, it has not yet implemented any rules on chip protection.

    The provisions on chip protection included in the Trips Agreement have not been deemed immediately applicable under Argentine law. In addition, Argentina has not ratified or implemented other multilateral treaties on chip protection, in particular the Treaty of Washington of 1989.

    Semiconductor technology, generally, and topographies, in particular, may be protected under the traditional intellectual property rules applicable to all types of technology, specially patent law and the rules on confidential information. Therefore, matters such as the duration of the relevant rights, ownership and remedies depend on the type of protection used in connection with each specific mask work or topography.

    Duration of right

    Not applicable for this jurisdiction.

    Ownership / licenses

     Not applicable for this jurisdiction.

    Remedies for infringement

    Not applicable for this jurisdiction.

  • Patents

    Nature of right

    Patents are a statutory right. The granting of patents is required by the Argentine Constitution and by different international documents, particularly the Trips Agreement. Patent rights imply an exclusive right to exploit a process or a product. The Argentine Patent Law defines the limits of these exclusive rights, on the basis of the provisions of the Trips Agreement.

    Legal framework

    Patents are governed by the Patent Law – Law 24,481, as amended. In addition, they are governed by the Trips Agreement and by the Paris Convention. Argentina is not a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

    Duration of right

    The basic rule is that patents expire 20 years after the date in which the relevant patent application was filed. Argentina uses a "first to file" system, but it also applies the priority rules derived from the Paris Convention.

    Argentine law provides special rules on compulsory licenses and on patent termination due to lack of exploitation of the patented invention. Compulsory licenses may be granted in case of non-exploitation, competition law violations or sanitary emergencies, among other cases. Patent termination may result when, after a compulsory license was granted for lack of exploitation, no exploitation of the invention takes place for two years after the license was granted.

    Ownership / licenses

    Joint ownership is permissible. The Patent Law includes provisions on the exercise of patent rights by the joint owners. In addition the Civil and Commercial Code rules on joint property apply to patents.

    The Patent law includes rules on licenses. Licenses are not exclusive, unless the parties provide otherwise. Competition law rules are applicable to restrictive clauses included in license agreements.

    Remedies for infringement

    The Patent law provides both civil and criminal law remedies for cases of infringement.

    Civil remedies include the compensation of damages and termination of the infringing activities.

    A complex system of rules for preliminary remedies in patent cases is included in the Patent law. Generally, suspension of an alleged infringer's exploitation requires a preliminary procedure, with the participation of expert witnesses.

    Criminal procedures and sanctions are rare.

  • Trademarks

    Nature of right

    A trademark may consist of one or more words, with or without conceptual content, drawings, commercial symbols, monograms, engravings, prints, seals, images, stripes, color combinations, letter and number combinations, the special graphics of letters and numbers, advertisement phrases, reliefs, and any other sign with distinctive capacity.

    A trademark is normally protected by means of its registration. However, de facto trademarks, that is those that are used but not registered, are also protected in a more limited way.

    Legal framework

    Trademarks are governed by the Trademark Law – Law 22,362, as amended.

    In addition, trademarks are protected by the rules included in Trips Agreement and in the Paris Convention.

    Duration of right

    Registered trademarks are protected for a period of ten years, from the moment of registration. Trademark registration may be renewed indefinitely.

    Registration may be cancelled for lack of use during a period of five years. In addition, renewal of registration requires proof of the trademark's prior use.

    Ownership / licenses

    Ownership is acquired by means of registration. However, use of unregistered trademarks may result in certain rights for the user.

    Trademarks may be subject to joint ownership. The Trademark Law and the Civil and Commercial Code provide the rules applicable to these joint ownership relationships.

    Trademark licenses are possible. They are valid even if they are not registered with the trademark office.

    Remedies for infringement

    The Trademark Law provides both civil and criminal law remedies for cases of infringement.

    Civil remedies include the compensation of damages and the termination of the infringing activities.

    Special preliminary remedies are applicable in cases of trademark infringement. The trademark owner may obtain an injunction against the infringer, when the trademark is registered and its violation is immediately evident.

    Criminal law remedies are rarely used in practice.

  • Trade secrets

    Nature of right

    Argentine law provides protection for trade secrets and confidential information. A complex set of rules creates rights against conduct whereby access is gained illegally to confidential information, or which implies illegal use of trade secrets or confidential information or which results in the unauthorized and harmful disclosure of confidential or secret information.

    Confidential information is characterized by the fact that it is kept in a reserved manner and that it is not generally available for technicians working in the relevant technical field. Trade secrets receive a special degree of protection, particularly under criminal law.

    Legal framework

    Confidential information is governed and protected by Law 24,766. It is also protected by the Trips Agreement and by the Paris Convention.

    In addition, multiple rules and statutes protect confidential information and trade secrets. Labor law protects the confidentiality and ownership of information used in employment relationships.

    Several criminal law rules apply to special types of violations of confidentiality. In particular, disclosure of trade secrets and unfair competition by means of the illegal use or appropriation of trade secrets are subject to criminal law penalties.

    Duration of right

    Confidential information and trade secrets is protected for as long as the relevant information is kept confidential. The degree of protection diminishes if the information ceases to be objectively a secret, due to its previous disclosure or because it has been obtained independently by other parties.

    Ownership / licenses

    Ownership results from the obtention of the information, accompanied by legal or practical measures aimed at restricting access to that information by third parties. No registration requirement is applicable.

    Joint ownership is possible.

    Trade secret or know-how licenses are common and enforceable.

    Remedies for infringement

    Argentine law provides civil and criminal law remedies for cases of trade secret infringement.

    Damages caused by these violations must be compensated. It is also possible to obtain court orders requiring termination of the violation.

    Preliminary remedies include injunctions against further exploitation or disclosure of trade secrets.

    Criminal remedies are applicable in cases of disclosure of trade secrets acquired in the course of employment and other professional relationship, as well as in cases in which the violation of the rights to confidential information or trade secrets results in unfair competition.

  • Other key IP rights

    Nature of right

    Industrial designs

    Industrial models and designs are protected by special industrial property rights. An industrial model or design consists in the forms embodied in or the aspect applied to an industrial or artisan product, which confer an ornamental character to such product.

    Exclusive rights on industrial models and designs result from registration of the relevant model or design.

    Industrial designs

    Industrial designs

    Legal framework

    Industrial designs

    Industrial models and designs are protected by Decree 6673/1963, as amended. They are also protected in accordance with the Trips Agreement and the Paris Convention.

    Duration of right

    Industrial designs

    The rights derived from the registration of an industrial model or design last for a five-year period, counted from the date of filing of the relevant application. The registration may be renewed for two successive five-year period, if the owner requests such renewal.

    Ownership / licenses

    Industrial designs

    Ownership belongs to the author. There is a rebuttable presumption to the effect that the first applicant of an industrial model or design registration is the author of such industrial model or design. Joint ownership is possible, and is governed by the Civil and Commercial Code and by Decree 6673/1963 as amended.

    Industrial models or designs may be the subject matter of license agreements. No registration is necessary for the validity of these agreements.

    Remedies for infringement

    Industrial designs

    Civil and criminal law remedies are applicable in case of infringement. Civil remedies include the compensation of damages and termination of the violation.

    Preliminary injunctions and remedies are possible in accordance with general procedural rules.

    Criminal sanctions have been recently reinforced, but they are rarely applied.

  • Intellectual property in employment context

    Employees

    Special rules on employee inventions are included in the Patent Law and in the Labor Contract Law.

    There are basically three types of invention, from the perspective of employer-employee relationships. First, inventions made in technological areas for which the employee was hired as a researcher or developer belong to the employer. The employee may be entitled to a special compensation if he or she develops a patented invention which exceeds the normal scope of the employee's work. Second, inventions related to the employee's work or related to the employer's know-how or activities belong to the employee, but allow the employer to exercise an option to acquire rights over the invention. If the option is exercised, the employee is entitled to a payment reflecting the value of the invention. Third, inventions that do not fall into the two previous categories belong to the employee.

    Similar rules are applicable in the case of other types of technology or intellectual property rights. In the case of software, the law applies the “work for hire” doctrine, but allows the parties to agree to different contractual rules.

    Consultants / contractors

    The law is not explicit about the rights of consultants and contractors, who do not qualify as employees, with regard to technology and other intellectual property they develop. Generally, the parties may agree as to the rules which will apply to such rights. In the absence of a contractual framework, the technology or intellectual property generated by a consultant or contractor who was hired with the purpose of developing such items that will belong to the person paying for such work.

  • Key commercial contract considerations

    Registration of commercial agreements

    The general rule is that commercial agreements are not registered, and that their validity and effect is not subject to registration requirements. However, certain types of agreement must be registered to be effective or to have full effects against third parties. Agreements subject to registration include business association agreements, certain publishing agreements, certain chattel mortgages and certain agreements related to real estate. International transfer of technology agreements are subject to registration for tax purposes.

    Recognized language of commercial agreements

    Agreements are generally entered in Spanish. However, it is legally possible to enter agreements written in other languages. These agreements must be translated when presented in court. Spanish language may be necessary in consumer transactions.

    Country-specific issues for online content

    Argentina has ratified the WIPO conventions applicable online content and practices. However, enforcement of these conventions is weak.

    Enforceability of online/clickwrap/shrinkwrap terms

    The general rule is that acceptance of terms included in online, click wrap or shrink wrap elements is valid and effective, provided such acceptance is clearly stated and applies to terms that were known to the person giving the acceptance. However, several rules may limit the effects of agreements entered by these mechanisms, particularly consumer protection rules and rules on adhesion contracts.

    Governing law

    The basic rule is that the parties may agree as to the law that will govern their contractual rights and as to the applicable jurisdiction in case of dispute. This freedom of election is subject to several limitations. Non-Argentine law will not be enforced in Argentine courts if it  is contrary to Argentine public policy. Also, certain matters are necessarily governed by Argentine law. For example, if a business association is created in Argentina, its organization and other corporate aspects will be governed by Argentine law. Decisions made by non-Argentine courts or arbitration tribunals are enforceable in Argentina only after going through a special procedure before the Argentine courts, in the context of which the decision will only be enforced if it complies with certain rules, particularly not violating Argentine public policy. In addition, certain matters – ie, deciding the validity of a patent issued in Argentina – are necessarily subject to Argentine jurisdiction.

  • Key commercial contract terms

    Enforceability of warranty disclaimers

    Argentine law provides certain warranties, generally applicable to all types of contracts implying the transfer of rights. These warranties apply, in particular, to the validity of the rights being transferred and to the fitness of the goods regarding which rights are transferred.

    The general rule is that these warranties may be limited or eliminated by agreement between the parties. However, these disclaimers are totally or partially invalid in several types of cases: if the transferor had prior knowledge of the invalidity of the transferred rights or of the deficiency of the goods involved; if the transferor is a merchant and the parties waiving his or her rights are not; and if the warranty disclaimer is included in a consumer or adhesion contract.

    Enforceability of exclusions/limitations of liability indemnification

    Exclusions or limitations of liability indemnification are valid if they meet the general conditions applicable to contractual. However, they may be unenforceable in the following cases: when they extend to willful violations or defaults, or to violations or defaults resulting from gross negligence; when they are imposed in adhesion or consumer contracts; or when they result in the violation or annulment of rights that may not be removed or limited contractually.

    Indemnification

    The basic rule under Argentine law if full indemnification of economic or moral damages caused by illegal conduct, whether that conduct constitutes a contractual or a tort violation.

    The parties are free to include contractual rules as to the extent of their indemnification obligations.

    Penalty clauses and liquidated damages clauses are acceptable, but they may be limited or amended by the courts if their terms are deemed abusive.

    In the absence of contractual provisions, the indemnification's extent will depend on circumstances such as the willful or negligent nature of the violation, foreseeability of the damages caused and the comparative fault of the parties.

    Electronic signatures

    Electronic signatures are valid and effective under Argentine law. However, certain legal effects require that the signature comply with a special certification regime.

  • Key contacts
    Guillermo Cabanellas
    Guillermo Cabanellas
    Senior Partner DLA Piper (Argentina) [email protected] T +5411 41145500 View bio

Copyrights

Nature of right

Argentina

Copyright protects intellectual creations in all fields of science, art and literature. Article 1 of the Copyright Law includes a non-exhaustive list of possible intellectual works protected by copyright. These include, among others, literary and artistic works, music, architectural works and software.

Copyright protects intellectual expressions, but not ideas. For example, the contents of a book in terms of sentences and other literary expressions are protected by copyright, but the creative idea underlying the book as a whole is not.

Copyright results from the creation of an intellectual work. Registration is not necessary for copyright to exist, although it is necessary for the exercise of some rights by local authors. Upon creation of a protected work, copyright belongs to the original author or authors, who then may transfer their right, by contract or by the operation of certain legal rules.

Copyright includes economic and moral rights. Economic rights consist, basically, in the exclusive right to use and exploit the protected work. The Copyright Law lists some of the elements of this exclusive right, such as the right to reproduce the relevant work, to market copies, to prepare derivative works or to have the work performed publicly.

Moral rights include the so call "integrity right" – that is, the right to preserve the text, title and other contents of the work, even if property rights on such work have been assigned; the "paternity right," the author’s right to be named and identified as such together with the work; the "publication right," the right to decide whether the right will be published; and the "alteration right," the right to modify the work, even after it has been published. Moral rights belong to the author and they are generally non-assignable.

Australia

Copyright can subsist in both works, which include original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, and subject-matter other than works, which include sound recordings, cinematograph films, television and sound broadcasts and published editions of works.

There is no registration requirement or publication requirement for a valid copyright (with the exception of television and sound broadcasts and published editions of works, which must be published).

The exclusive rights for original works are to reproduce, publish, perform, communicate to the public and make an adaptation of the work, and to enter into commercial rental arrangements for a work reproduced in a program or sound recording.

The exclusive rights for subject matter other than works are to make a copy of the work, communicate it to the public and to enter into a commercial agreement in respect of the work.

Austria

Copyrights are available for works that are "unique intellectual creations" (eigentümliche geistige Schöpfung) in the fields of literature (including computer programs), musical art, fine arts and movie arts. The term contains the aspects of human creativity and originality/individuality; no specific quality of work is required. There is detailed case law in Austria dealing with the assessment of whether a work is subject to copyright. The work does not have to be fixed in a tangible medium in order to be protected. There is no obligation to register.

The Copyright Act also provides protection for a number of "related rights" (ancillary copyright – Leistungsschutzrecht) that are not copyrighted but are, in principle, subject to the same or similar regulations. These are the rights of performers and presenters, rights of producers of media and rights of broadcasters. Certain works, ie, databases and photographs, can be subject to both copyright (if sufficiently original) and ancillary copyright. Finally, the Copyright Act also provides protection for technical measures intended to prevent copyright infringement (digital rights management protection).

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to exploit the work (including the right to reproduce, distribute, lend, lease, prepare derivative works, make work available, emit and publicly perform) as well as certain personal rights (such as the right to be named as author).

Belgium

To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be original, which has been determined by case law to mean that the protected work must be the expression of the intellectual creation of its author. Even if the work consists of elements which, considered in isolation, are not an intellectual creation of the author who employs them, the author may express his or her creativity in an original manner and achieve a result which is an intellectual creation through the choice, sequence and combination of those elements.

The same requirement of originality applies to the copyright protection of databases, which is considered to be original when it constitutes the author's own intellectual creation by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents.

There is no registration process for copyright protection; the author's right arises automatically with the creation.  Mere ideas or concepts are not protectable.

Brazil

Copyright protection is available for "creations of the spirit," expressed by any means or fixed in any medium, tangible or intangible, now known or invented in the future. Protection by copyright does not depend on registration and the rights arise upon creation of the work.

Authors hold, over the works they create, moral rights (which include the right of having their name associated with the work and the right to modify or prevent modifications of the work) and economic rights (which include the right to use (and authorize others to use) the work by any means, enjoy any results arising from the work and make the work available, including the right to reproduce, publish, distribute, edit, adapt, translate and others). Moral rights cannot be waived or assigned.

In Brazil, copyright protection also applies to software, defined as the "expression or an organized group of instructions in natural or encoded language, contained in a physical medium of any nature, the use of which is necessary in automated information treatment machines, devices, instruments or peripheral equipment based on digital or analogical technique for them to work in a certain way and for a certain purpose." In case of software, moral rights are not applicable.

Canada

Copyright protection is granted to every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work in a fixed mode of expression, and to sound recordings, performer's performances and communication signals.

Copyright arises automatically upon creation of the work, sound recording, performer's performance or communication signal. Moral rights of attribution and integrity also arise automatically upon creation of a copyrighted work or performer's performance and belong exclusively to the author. Moral rights may be waived by the author but cannot be assigned.

Registration is not necessary to enforce rights, but registration provides certain legal advantages.

The owner of a copyrighted work has the sole right to produce, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, perform or publish a work of authorship in any material form. The owner of a sound recording, performer's performance or communication signal has the sole right to fix it in any material form, reproduce any fixation, communicate it to the public or perform it in public.

Chile

In continental law tradition this right is called "author's right." Author's right includes Patrimonial rights and also Moral Rights. Moral rights comprehend Paternity, Integrity and Edition rights; there are also connected rights (interpreter).
Author's rights are available for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. The rights arise at the time the original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, and registration is not required to validate the right.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform and publicly display their works of authorship.

China

Works of literature, art, natural science, social science and engineering technology that are created in the form of written works, oral works, musical works, dramatic works, works of fine arts and architectural works, photographic works, cinematographic works, graphic works such as drawings of engineering designs and computer software can enjoy protection under the PRC copyright laws.

Registration of copyright is not required and the rights arise automatically at the time the creation of the work is completed.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform and broadcast their works or disseminate the works via an information network.

Colombia

Copyrights protect any literary, artistic and scientific work that may be reproduced or disclosed by any known or future means. Protection is granted regardless of the means by which the work was created.

The person whose name, pseudonym or any other identifying detail is visible on the work is considered the author, but another legal or natural person may have the ownership of the economic rights derived from the work. In this regard, copyright recognizes 2 types of rights: economic and moral rights.

Moral rights

As per Decision 351 dated 1993, moral rights are those that recognize the author. This type of right may not be licensed, transferred, waived or prescribed and empowers the author to:

  • Keep the work unpublished
  • Claim the authorship of the work
  • Object any change, alteration or mutilation of the work that may be harmful to its integrity or that may affect the reputation of the author

Economic rights

The economic right is any economic benefit that is derived from the exploitation or reproduction of a specific copyrighted work. In this regard, Decision 351 of 1993 empowers the author or the person that holds the economic right to authorize or prevent:

  • Reproduction of the work by any means, understood as fixing the work in a way that allows it or its copies to be communicated in all or in part. In this regard, the communication implies any act by which 2 or more persons may access the work without a prior distribution of an authorized copy
  • Disclosure of the work to the public
  • Distribution of copies
  • Exportation of any copy that has not been previously authorized
  • Translation, adaptation or any transformation of the work

Czech Republic

Copyright is available for original works of authorship in any objectively perceivable manner, including in electronic form, permanent or temporary, irrespective of its scope, purpose or significance. A computer program shall also be considered an authorship work if it is original in the sense that it is the author's own intellectual creation. Registration is not required (nor even possible) for valid copyright rights and the copyright shall apply to the work in its entirety, to its individual stages of development and to parts of the work, including its title and the names of its characters, if any of these meet the definition elements of an authorship work set out above.

Copyright holders have the exclusive right to decide to publish their work, claim the authorship and the right to the inviolability of their work (moral rights). They also have the exclusive rights to use, reproduce, distribute, rent, loan, publicly display and publicly perform their works of authorship.

Denmark

Available for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Registration is not required for valid copyright rights and the rights arise at the time the original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform and publicly display their works of authorship.

Besides the actual copyright rights, Danish law protects neighboring rights such as the right to a recording.

Moral rights are recognized.

Finland

Copyright protection is given to independent and original literary or artistic works. Copyright is considered to consist of moral and economical rights to the work, of which the latter can be freely transferred or licensed. Copyrights are not registered. The Copyright Act grants the Copyright holder the exclusive right to reproduce, display, distribute and commercially exploit the work. Limitations apply in regard to this exclusivity, such as the right to use copyrighted works for the purposes of quoting, teaching or parody.

France

Copyrights include economic rights and moral rights. French law grants copyright protection to:

"the rights of authors in all works of the mind, whatever their kind, form of expression, merit or purpose."

There are two main conditions for copyright protection:

  • The work must be fixed in a material form (ie, on paper, in a computer program or in an electronic document) (mere ideas are not protected) and
  • The work must be original (ie, it must be endowed with the personality of its author)

Germany

Authors of literary, scientific and artistic works can own copyrights in their works. Only natural persons can be authors. Copyright protection arises upon creation of the work. Registration is neither necessary nor possible.

The author is granted moral rights which are the right to decide whether and how the work will be published, the right to recognition of authorship and the right to prohibit the distortion or any other derogatory of his work, as well as exploitation rights, which include the right of reproduction, distribution, exhibition, broadcasting, recitation, performance and presentation, and a resale royalty right.

Hong Kong

The Copyright Ordinance defines copyright as a property right, comprising economic rights and moral rights. Registration is not required for copyright protection. The rights arise automatically upon creation of the relevant copyright work.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform and publicly display their works of authorship.

Hungary

All literary, scientific and artistic work are entitled to copyright protection on the basis of its individual and original character deriving from the intellectual creating activity of the author.

Copyright protection arises automatically and no application or registration is needed. Registration is only optional and serves as proof for authorship in possible contentious cases.

The copyright owner is entitled to moral and economic rights. The economic rights of the copyright holder include the exclusive right to use (eg, reproduce, distribute, communicate to the public, broadcast, exhibit, perform) and to authorize others to use his work, or part of it in any material or non-material form.

Under the moral rights of the author, the author is entitled to the right of first publication, the indication of his/her name on the work as the author of the work. The author also has a right for the protection of the integrity of the work.

India

Copyright protection is available for original works of authorship expressed in a tangible form. Registration is not required for a valid copyright, and the rights arise at the time the original work is captured on a tangible medium.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform and publicly display their works of authorship.

Indonesia

The creator or a copyright holder has the exclusive right that contains moral rights and economic rights to gain economic benefits such as to publish and/or reproduce the creation subject to the copyright, and to grant permission for third parties to publish and/or reproduce that creation.

Ireland

Copyright is a property right. It gives protection to a range of works where the work is original, namely:

  • Literary works including computer software
  • Dramatic works
  • Films
  • Cable programs
  • Broadcasts
  • Musical or artistic works
  • Sound recordings
  • The typographical arrangement of a published edition and
  • An original database

There is no registration regime in Ireland for copyright works; it is not a pre-condition of the protection afforded to the work under copyright law. Copyright will arise at the time that the original work of authorship is recorded or fixed.

An owner of a work that is protected by copyright has a number of specific, exclusive rights in relation to that work including:

  • To reproduce
  • To make available to the public (and this includes the right to perform or display their work to the public) and
  • To adapt

The copyright owner has the sole authority to permit others to do any such acts.

Under Irish law, there is also protection available for database rights, performance rights and rental and lending rights.

The Copyright and Related Rights Acts 2000 (as amended) recognises the concept of moral rights. The moral rights are:

  • The paternity right (the right to be identified as the author of the work)
  • The integrity right (the right to prevent mutilation, distortion or other derogatory alteration of the work)
  • The right of protection against false attribution (the right of a person not to have a work falsely attributed to him/her) and
  • The right to privacy in photographs and film where commissioned for private / domestic use

Importantly, it is not possible, as a matter of law, to assign moral rights. However, moral rights can be waived by the individual entitled to such rights.

Israel

Copyright protects authors' economic and moral rights. According to Section 4(a) of the Copyright Act 2007, copyright subsists in any original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work if it is fixed in any form. Protection of moral rights is comprised of the authors' rights for attribution and for the work not to be distorted in any unauthorized manner.

Italy

Copyright protection is available to works having a creative character and pertaining to every field of human creations, including literature, music, graphic arts, architecture, theatre and cinematography, whatever their mode or form of expression.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, perform publicly by any distance medium, distribute, transform and lease and loan the work.

In addition to the above, the copyright owner also has moral rights such as the right to claim authorship of her/his work and in case of an anonymous work, the right to reveal her/his identity, to object to any distortion, defacing or any other modification of her/his work that could be prejudicial to her/his honor or reputation and to withdraw the literary work from commerce for serious moral reasons.

Japan

Works created by an author are protected subject to certain exceptions specified in the Copyright Act, such as private use, citations and school text book use. "Works" means a production in which thoughts or sentiments are creatively expressed and which falls within the literary, academic, artistic or musical domain.

No fixation to a tangible medium (except for movies) or registration is required.

The copyright arises and is protected from the moment of creation.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, publicly perform, screen, transmit, recite, exhibit or distribute, transfer, lend reproductions, translate, adapt the work and use derivative works.

Moral rights of an author and neighboring rights are recognized under the Copyright Act.

Luxembourg

To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be original.

The same requirement of originality applies to the copyright protection of databases, which are considered to be original when they constitute the author's own intellectual creation by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents.

There is no registration process for copyright protection; the author's right arises automatically with the creation. Mere ideas or concepts are not protected.

Mexico

Copyright can apply to a variety of works, including musical, literary, broadcasting, photography, works of art (graphic design, pictorial, drawing, sculpture and caricature), cinematography, audiovisual work, editorial compilations (such as encyclopedias and anthologies), operating systems and computer programs.

Copyright grants both moral and economic rights to its author, which shall be an individual (as opposed to an entity).

Moral rights make the author the first and only perpetual owner of the rights of the copyright work; patrimonial rights allow the titleholder to exploit the work exclusively or to authorize third parties to exploit the copyright.

Netherlands

To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be an original intellectual creation of the author. Even if the work consists of elements which, considered in isolation, are not as such an intellectual creation of the author who employs them, the author may express his or her creativity in an original manner through the choice, sequence and combination of those elements.

The same requirement of originality applies to the copyright protection of databases, which is considered to be original when it constitutes the author's own intellectual creation by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents.

There is no registration process for copyright protection. The author's right arises automatically with the creation of the work. Mere ideas or concepts are not protected.

New Zealand

Copyright protection is available for original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, as well as sound recordings, films, communication works and typographical arrangements of published editions.

There is no registration requirement for copyright in New Zealand and no copyright registration system. The protection is automatic and the work is protected from the time it is first recorded (in writing or otherwise).

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to prevent others from copying the work, issuing copies of the work to the public, performing, playing or showing the work in public, communicating the work to the public or making an adaptation of the work.

Norway

Copyright protection is available for original literary or artistic works. The protection covers works of any kind, regardless of mode of expression or form of creative expression.

To earn copyright protection the work has to be created through creative effort and have sufficient originality. Neither registration nor the use of the international copyright sign is required. However, it is generally recommended that, where possible, both be included in order to strengthen the owner's right to the work.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to distribute copies and make the work available to the public, including the right to publicly display, present and share the created work.

Poland

Copyright protects the manifestation of creative activity of an individual nature, established in any form, irrespective of its value, purpose or form of expression. Copyright protection begins as soon as the work is established (registration of the right is not necessary). As a general rule, the copyrights to works of authorship (comprising the author's economic and personal copyrights) are owned by their author.

The author's economic copyrights stipulate the author's exclusive right to use the work, or to trade the right to use the work in all fields of exploitation, and to receive remuneration for its use.

The author's moral rights concern the author's relation with the work. These moral rights include the right:

  • of authorship
  • to put the author's name or pseudonym on a work, or to communicate a work anonymously
  • to protect the integrity of the content and form of a work and its fair use
  • to decide to communicate a work to the public for the first time
  • to control the manner in which the work is used

Portugal

Copyright covers original literary, scientific and artistic intellectual creations (works). Registration is not required for the acquisition or maintenance of copyright rights; however, there are certain specific copyright-related acts subject to registration in order to be valid.

In Portugal, copyright comprises patrimonial and moral rights.

In the scope of the patrimonial rights, copyright owners have the exclusive right to use, enjoy and dispose of their work, or to authorize the use of the work, wholly or in part, by third parties.

Moral rights consist in the right to claim authorship of the work, as well as the right to ensure its genuineness and integrity.

Romania

Copyrights are available for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. The rights arise at the time the original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, and registration is not required to validate the copyright. Registered copyrights are denoted by the symbol ©.

Copyright owners have a bundle of exclusive rights, which include the right to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works and publicly perform their works of authorship.

Russia

Copyright protection is available to works having a creative character and pertaining to works of literature, science and arts, regardless of their purpose, qualities and the mode or form of expression. Computer programs and databases are generally protected as literary works.

Copyright owners have certain exclusive rights, including the right to reproduce, distribute, publicly display, import, loan, perform publicly by any distance medium, communicate by air, communicate by cable, translate/transform, implement (in relation to architectural and design projects) and convey the work to the public.

In addition to the above, the author (individual creator of the work) has moral (personal inalienable) rights such as the right to claim authorship of his work, the right to indicate or not indicate his identity, the right to integrity of the work and the right to make the work available to the public.

Saudi Arabia

Under the Copyright Law, copyright protection applies to works "created in the fields of literature, art and sciences, irrespective of their type, means of expression, importance or purpose of authorship."

The Copyright Law covers works of Saudi and non-Saudi authors published, produced, performed or displayed for the first time in the KSA, and works of Saudi authors published, produced, performed or displayed for the first time outside the KSA, works of broadcasting organizations and producers of sound recordings and performers as well as works copyrighted pursuant to international agreements or treaties for protection of copyright to which the KSA is a party.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform and publicly display their works of authorship. Copyright Law also affords extensive moral rights to the author of a copyright work, which are considered permanent rights of the author and, significantly, cannot be subject to waiver, lapse or transfer (except to the heir(s) of the author in case of the author's death or, if there are no heirs, to the Ministry of Culture and Information).

Assignment by an author of all his future intellectual production is, under the Copyright Law, also deemed to be null and void.

The application of moral rights and restrictions on future assignment have implications for the drafting of contracts and assignment documents.

Singapore

Copyright protects literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and other subject matter, such as sound recordings, films, broadcasts, cable programs and published editions of works. The copyright owner has an exclusive right to engage in certain acts in relation to the copyrighted work, such as reproduction or publishing.

In order for a copyright to be applicable, the work must be original and exist in tangible form such as in writing or as a recording. Ideas or concepts alone are not protected.

Copyright does not need to be registered. The author of a work to which copyright applies automatically enjoys copyright protection as soon as the work is expressed in a tangible form.

Slovak Republic

An object of copyright shall be a work in the field of literature, art or science, which is a unique result of the creative intellectual activity of the author. Such a work must be perceptible through senses, regardless of its form, content, quality, purpose, form of expression or phase of completion. The author of a work is a natural person who has created the work. The copyright arises at the time when a work is objectively expressed in a form perceptible by senses.

Copyright includes exclusive personal rights and exclusive property rights.

The author has the exclusive personal rights to decide to publish or not to publish the work, to be identified as the author and to decide on the way of such identification. The author has the right to authorship of the work. The author's work shall be protected against any unauthorized alteration or other unauthorized interference. The author cannot waive these rights. These rights are not transferable and they cease to exist upon the author's death.

In addition, the author has the exclusive property rights to use the work and to grant consent with the use of the work to somebody else. The author also has the right to remuneration for the use of work. The use of work includes processing of the work, reproduction of the work, public dissemination of the original of the work or the copy of the work by transfer of ownership or by borrowing or making the work available to the public. The author, as the licensor, grants such consent to the licensee in the license agreement. Author's property rights do not expire by granting consent with the use of the work. However, the author is obliged to tolerate the use of the work by licensee within the scope of the granted consent.

If two or more authors have created a single work in such a way that it is not possible to distinguish their individual creative contributions, they are considered to be co-authors. In such a case, the personal and property rights shall belong to all co-authors jointly and severally unless the co-authors have agreed otherwise in writing.

As regards the rights related to the copyright, these are:

  • the rights of a performing artist (eg, a singer, musician, conductor, actor, dancer);
  • the rights of a producer of a sound record;
  • the rights of a producer of an audiovisual record;
  • the rights of a broadcaster.

The general provisions relating to the copyright shall apply accordingly to these specific authors of works.

South Korea

Copyright protection arises upon creation of an original copyright work without any formality.

Copyright registration is not a prerequisite for copyright protection or enforcement, although it provides certain statutory presumptions that give advantages in enforcement. Protection under the CA applies to any creative work that expresses ideas or sentiments of mankind.

The copyright holder who has the right to reproduce and distribute a work (initially, the author) may license or assign the right of publication to a person who intends to publish the work (whether in writing or drawing).

Spain

All original literary, artistic or scientific works are protected by copyright, in particular, books, music compositions, audiovisual works, projects, plans, graphics, and databases. Computer programs are also protected by copyright and with certain exceptions, are treated in the same way as literary works.

Registration is not required for valid copyright protection. However, works that qualify for copyright protection may be registered on the Copyright Register and/or filed with a Notary Public in order to serve as stronger evidence. Copyright protection is automatic and the rights arise at the time the work is created.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform and publicly display their works of authorship.

Sweden

Copyrights protection is available for original works that are literary or artistic. The individual creator is entitled to copyright to the work. No registration or fixation is required; the right arises at the time of creation.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the work. Distribution includes transmission to the public, public performance, public display and distribution of copies.

Moral rights are recognized.

Switzerland

Copyright protection is available for intellectual creations of literature or art that have a distinct character. Copyright protection also applies to computer programs and related rights that include the rights of performing artists, of producers of phonograms and videograms and the rights of broadcasters to their products.

Registration is not required; the rights arise as soon as a work is created. It is not necessary to refer to the copyright in the work.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, translate, edit, distribute, sell, perform, broadcast or transfer the work.

Taiwan

The Copyright Act defines copyright as a property right, comprising economic rights and moral rights. Registration is not required for copyright protection. The rights arise automatically upon creation of the relevant authorship work. 

Ukraine

In Ukraine, copyright protection is granted to original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression. Copyright arises from the moment of creation of work and does not require registration or fulfilment of any other formalities to enjoy protection. Registration of copyright is possible in Ukraine on a voluntary basis and does not affect the validity of rights. Copyright protection is granted to both published and unpublished works, complete and incomplete, irrespective of their designation, genre, volume or purpose. Further, a part of a work that may be used independently, including its original name, is treated as a work that can enjoy copyright protection.

Copyright owners have an exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and publicly display their works of authorship. In addition, copyright owners have moral rights, such as the right to claim authorship by way of indicating the author's name on the work, the right to prohibit mentioning his or her name during public display of work or to choose pseudonym, as well as the right to protect integrity of their work. Moral rights cannot be assigned or transferred to third parties.

United Arab Emirates

A "work" is defined under the Copyright Law as "any creative work in the field of literature or the arts or sciences of whatever kind or manner of expression or whatever its importance or its purpose." The work must be original, but the threshold for originality is low - essentially the work must not be copied from another work.

The general principle is that copyright exists automatically without the need for registration. Copyright material may be registered in the UAE but this is essentially a process of depositing the work at the Ministry of Economy. However, registration is likely to be a prerequisite for a successful enforcement action in the UAE courts.

United Kingdom

Copyright protection is available for works covered by the categories protected by the Copyright Act, which includes artistic, literary (including software), dramatic, musical, sound recording, film, broadcasts and typographical arrangements. Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works must be original to qualify for protection.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to prevent others copying the work, issuing copies of the work to the public, renting, lending, performing, showing, communicating works to the public or making an adaptation of the work.

Knowingly dealing with infringing copies is also prohibited as "secondary infringement."

There is no requirement for a copyright to be registered, and no copyright registration system.

United States

Copyrights are available for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. The rights arise at the time the original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, and registration is not required to validate the copyright. Registered copyrights are denoted by the symbol ©.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform and publicly display their works of authorship.