Frequently Asked Questions

Copyright and Related Rights

What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic

What is covered by copyright?

The kinds of works covered by copyright include: literary works such as novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers and computer programs; databases; films, musical compositions, and choreography; artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture; architecture; and advertisements, maps and technical drawings.

What rights does copyright provide?

The original creators of works protected by copyright, and their heirs, have certain basic rights. They hold the exclusive right to use or authorize others to use the work on agreed terms. The creator of a work can prohibit or authorize:

  • itsreproduction in various forms, such as printed publication or sound recording;
  • its public performance, as in a play or musical work;
  • recordings of it, for example, in the form of compact discs, cassettes or videotapes;
  • its broadcasting, by radio, cable or satellite;
  • its translation into other languages, or its adaptation, such as a novel into a screenplay
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 national 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.