¿What intellectual creations are protected by copyright?
The copyright protects all human creations in the literary, artistic and scientific field, which are original and perceptible in some way. For instance: tales, novels, articles, software, drawings, plans, musical compositions, movies, etc. Copyright does not protect ideas but their form of expression.
Who is considered the author of a work?
The author is a physical person that creates the work.
What rights does the author have?
The author has moral rights (being recognized as the author of the work, respect for their integrity, possibility of modification) and proprietary rights (authorize or prohibit all reproductions, public communication, publication and transformation of their work).
What requirements shall the work meet to be protected?
The work must be original, that is to say, it must reflect the personal stamp of the author and it must be perceptible in some way. Copyright does not protect ideas but their form of expression.
How can the rights deriving from copyright be obtained?
Copyright arises at the moment of the work creation. However, our law subjects the author’s exercise of property rights over their published works to registration in the National Copyright Authority.
Can I use the work before being registered?
Yes, you can use the work before being registered, however, it is more difficult for the author to assert their rights against potential infringement by third parties. Even proprietary rights are suspended until the work is registered.
How long does the protection of the work last? Is it renewable?
Copyright shall last for the lifetime of the author and for seventy years following his death and for most of his works. There are works that have different terms, for instance, cinematographic and photographic works. It is not a renewable term.
What happens after the expiration of the protection term?
The work enters the public domain and it can be used by anyone. However, the right of the author to be recognized as such remains unaffected.
Can I register a work that I have not published yet?
Yes, the National Copyright Authority provides for a system of Registration of unpublished works by the deposit of the works in a sealed envelope for the purpose of constituting evidence of author and content. This protection lasts for three years and it is renewable.
Can copyright be transferred?
Yes, only proprietary rights are transferable to natural or legal third parties. Authorship of work (moral right) is never transferred.
Can third parties use a work without the author’s authorization?
No, except in those cases exceptionally authorized by law (quotations, software safeguard copy, etc.).
What can I do when my work is used without my authorization and outside the legal assumptions of exception?
The author may sue the infringer claiming the compensation for the damages caused and the application of criminal sanctions as provided by law (fines and imprisonment).