Copyright Introduction

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What is Copyrights?

Copyrights are author’s expression in the form of arts, music, literatures, and even dramatic performance. Copyrights protect such an expression from copying by another for a period of time.

Copyright and its related rights are essential to human creativity by granting the authors incentives in the form of recognition and fair economic rewards. Authors are assured that their works can be disseminated without fear of unauthorized copying or piracy. This in turn helps increase access to and enhances the enjoyment of culture, knowledge, and entertainment all over the world.

Types of Copyrights

There are four major parts of copyrights (LMDA) where its protection shall last throughout the author’s life:

  1. Literary Work
  2. Musical Work
  3. Dramatic Work
  4. Artistic Work

There are other expressions known as Entrepreneurial Work which are granted protection for only a period of time upon creation:

  1. Sound Recordings
  2. Broadcasts
  3. Published Edition or Typographical Arrangement
  4. Movie / Film

Criteria of a validly created Copyrighted Work

Copyrights are granted automatically to author upon fulfilling the following criteria:

  1. Original irrespective of its quality
  2. Sufficient independent skill and effort expended
  3. Works created by a qualified person
  4. Reduced or transformed to material form

Factors which are not protected as Copyrights

Copyright protection does not extend to one’s mere ideas. Ideas must fulfill the aforementioned criteria in order to enjoy protection.

Rights given to Copyrights Owner

Copyright owners are given the following rights in relation to their works:

  1. Reproduction
  2. Improvisation or adaptation
  3. Distribution
  4. Performance
  5. Display
  6. Digital Performance

Laws and Regulations for Copyrights in Malaysia

Malaysia is a member of Berne Convention for the protection of Literary and Artistic. In Malaysia such a right is regulated under the Malaysia Copyrights Act 1987 and common laws from other commonwealth countries which are binding in Malaysia court.

Duration of Copyrights

A validly created copyrighted work shall be protected throughout the author’s life and an additional 50 years upon death (applicable for LMDA). Entrepreneurial work generally lasts only for 25 years upon its first date of publication except for movies and films.

Recordation of Copyright Work in Malaysia

Malaysia is one of many countries where a system for the recordation of copyrighted works is available. Although it is not compulsory in doing so, but recordation of Copyright grants further protection in the sense of, for example, identifying and distinguishing the tiles and ownership of works.

Recordation of copyrighted works is also serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to disputes relating to copyright. Furthermore, in additional to the damages claimed for infringement, recordation of copyright further grants the owner Statutory Damages and the rights to legal costs and attorney fees.

Documents required for Copyright Recordation in Malaysia

The following documents are required irrespective of nationality:

  1. Copy of the works in material form i.e. on paper, CDs/DVDs, external hard disk, flash drive, or sim card;
  2. Copy of the respective company incorporation forms if Applicant is a company, or copy of identification card(passport for international applicant) in case of a natural person Applicant; and
  3. Copy of the Author’s identification card or passport.
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