Copyrights protect creations in the literary, scientific and artistic field, whatever
their form (a book, a piece of art, a brochure, a painting, a sculpture, a song or a music, a theater play, a film, a lecture, a video, architectural drawings, a building, a photograph, game rules… but also a data base, a computer program, a computer application, a website…), provided that these creations are new and original (bearing the stamp of their author).
Ideas, concepts, principles or theories cannot be appropriated and subject to exclusive rights. They belong to the public domain. No copyrights in such a case!
Who is the owner?
The creator is the owner of the moral rights of the author. These cannot be owned by a company. The person whose name is affixed on the creation is the author, unless otherwise established. To the contrary, a company may be the owner of the financial author’s rights on a creation, provided these rights haves been assigned to it by the author (by contract).
Data base producers have special author’s rights limited to 15 years. It is therefore recommended for companies active in this field to specifically refer to author’s rights in the employment contract with their developers.
As far as creations within the scope of an employment contract, generally speaking it is necessary to refer to the contract to determine who is the owner of patrimonial rights. In the absence of such a reference, the creator will be the owner of all rights. This may vary from country to country. One should be careful !
In most countries, copyrights exist without any registration formality.
The creator is therefore protected as from the creation date, provided that the creation meets the conditions foreseen by the law.
- to have the right to decide to make the creation public or not
- to prevent any copy, alteration, adaptation or translation, as any publication without authorization
- this may generate income when authorizing third parties to use it (license, assignment…)
We may help you to enforce your copyrights. We may also write or review contracts with respect to these rights in order to value them.
Protection does not require any formalities. But it is necessary to be able to prove that the legal requirements are met in the concerned country.
It is important to be able to prove the date of your creation and to keep evidences thereof.
Most of the time, there are no costs in the absence of a registration procedure, ex-cept some minor costs to give a date to a document for instance.
In Belgium, copyrights remain valid during 70 years after the death of the author. After his death, the beneficiaries are the legal successors.