This article explains what are copyrights and how they are protected in Cyprus.
What is Copyright?
Copyrights are Intellectual Property rights, which include artistic work, music, sound recordings, motion pictures, movies, photographs, literal work, scientific work and other categories which are expressions and not ideas. A requirement for the protection of the work is that the work must be original and to emanate from the author. These rights include the right to reproduce, to sale, to rent the work, to create derivative work, to share copies of the work and to perform the work in public.
Protection & Law in Cyprus
In Cyprus, Copyrights are governed by the Intellectual Property Rights Law No. 59/76 as amended, the Berne Convention, Geneva Convention, Paris Convention, TRIPS and WIPO.
To protect a Copyright in Cyprus, the owner must be a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus, or have a habitual residence in Cyprus, a legal person established in Cyprus, or a citizen of an EU Member State.
Owners of Copyrights
The owners of Copyrights have the exclusive right to the use of their work; however, if they wish, they can choose to transfer them to people, individually or collectively, and they can also make them available to the public.
The creator’s work is protected against theft, the creator receives the economic benefits for his creativity, and the public enjoys the work which if it were not for the creator, it might have not been created or expressed. It should be noted that the owners have no obligation to publish or make their work available to the public.
How Long is it Protected?
Copyrights arise automatically the minute the work is created. The creator neither is required to register his work, nor is required to place the internationally known symbol of Copyright notice © on the work to protect it. They are protected for the duration of the author’s life, plus seventy more years from the end of the year which the author dies. If the work is jointly created by two or more people, the work lasts from the minute it is created, plus seventy more years from the end of the year of the death of the last surviving creator (eg. in movies this means the last survivor of the producers, primary director, script and screenplay writer and the composer of the music).
Requirements for a Copyrighted Work
The work must be original, creative and fixed.
For the work to satisfy the requirement of originality, it must obviously be originated from the creator, and it must be an independent creation. There is no requirement for it to be unique, novel or inventive, as in Patents. It is vital that the work must not be copied from other original work, as in such event the work is not only unentitled for protection, but the ‘creator’ is in copyright infringement.
To satisfy creativity, the work requires a minimum amount of creativity. For example, a sound lasts 2 minutes, but only a few seconds of its whole duration is creative, the work satisfies this requirement.
The work must be fixed in tangible means of expression, so as it can be stable and permanent. For example, a song is fixed when it is recorded. The minute the work is fixed, protection arises automatically.
Registration of Copyrights is not required, although it is highly recommended. Having the Copyrights registered, enables the owner to bring an action for Copyright Infringement. If the Copyright is not registered and it is infringed, the owner must first register the Copyright to be able to bring a Court action, due to the fact that its registration satisfies the requested level of proof that the work is validly protected.
Registration also provides notice to the public that the work is protected by Copyright, and if they wish to ‘borrow’ the work, they must first receive permission from the owner, creating a ‘licence to use’.
Fair Use is a limitation in the copyright protection. Fair use allows people to use a protected work without the owner’s permission, for purposes of criticism, news, teaching, research and more. This is also a defence at Court, which is determined on a case-by-case basis.
What we provide
In relation to Copyrights, we can provide legal advice on Cypriot law relating to Intellectual Property and Copyright Law including advice on possible Copyright Infringement, Copyright Registration, Transfer of Ownership, IP Litigation and International Commercial Arbitration.