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Copyright and related rights

1. What is a copyright?

Copyright includes the rights of the authors of literary, scientific and artistic works and works in other fields of creative endeavors.

2. What is covered by copyright?

Copyright applies to literary works (novels, poems, etc.), dramatic works, manuals, newspapers, computer programs, databases, films, musical works, choreographic works, and artistic works such as paintings, drawings and engravings, photographs and sculptures, architectural works, works of applied art, maps, technical drawings, etc.

3. Which rights are protected by copyright?

Original authors of works protected by copyright and their heirs have certain rights vis-à-vis all third parties. They have an exclusive right to use a work, or allow others to use it, on agreed terms.

The creator of a work can give a permission or prohibit:
  • Reproduction of his work in different forms;
  • Public performance of his work;
  • Recording of his work on lasting tangible carriers;
  • Broadcasting of his work on the radio, cable or satellite;
  • Translations of his work into other languages or other adaptations of his work.

Many works of authorship protected by copyright require mass distribution and communication to the public, which are associated with sizeable cash investments into their dissemination. For that reason, authors often assign the rights to their works to individuals or legal entities with a view to securing the best marketing of their works. Charges related to the consumption of the work depend on the circumstances of the actual use of the work and they are called royalties.

Under the applicable WIPO Treaties, the property rights of the author last for the life of the author and 70 years after his death (the Law on Copyright and Related Rights also provides for the 70-year post mortem duration of protection). This period enables the authors and their heirs to enjoy material benefits in a reasonable time period of the exploitation of the work. Copyright protection also covers moral rights of the author, which inter alia, include the right of authorship (the right to be recognized as the author of his work), the right to oppose the alterations of his work which could damage the standing and reputation of the author.

The author or the owner/holder of a copyright to a work can exercise his right in administrative procedures or before courts with jurisdiction in rem and territorial jurisdiction, and he can request a search of premises for the purpose of finding evidence of manufacture or possession of illegally made copies of protected works (measures aimed at pirated copies of the work). The owner/holder of the right may request a court order for a ban on the performance of certain activities, and he can also request to be compensated for the material damage and the violation of moral rights.

4. What are related rights?

The rights related to copyright constitute a field which has developed very rapidly over the last fifty years. Related rights were developed in connection with the exploitation of works protected by copyright and they comprise similar rights, of a limited scope and a shorter duration. The related rights, under the Law on Copyright and Related Rights (SaM Official Gazette, no. 104/2009), include:
  • The rights of performers;
  • The rights of phonogram producers;
  • The rights of videogram producers;
  • The rights of database producers;
  • The rights of broadcast producers;
  • The right of the first publisher of a free work.

(The WIPO concept differentiates between:
  • The rights of performers;
  • The rights of phonogram producers (producers of sound recordings);
  • The rights of broadcasting organizations.)

5. The purpose of copyright protection of a work

Copyright and related rights are important both for human creativity, because they give an incentive to creators in terms of the right to be recognized as authors of their works, and in the process of obtaining fair royalties.

In such a manner, authors and owners/holders of the right have a degree of legal certainty in the sense that their works can be disseminated without fear of unauthorized duplication and piracy. All the above, in turn, results in facilitated access to culture, knowledge, even entertainment at an international, global level.

6. Is copyright following technological advancements in the legislative sense?

The field of copyright and related rights has been considerably enlarged due to technological development in the past several decades, which has enabled new methods and means of communication and the use of protected works on a global scale (satellite, CD, DVD, and the like). The use of works via the Internet is the most recent discovery which raises new issues in the field of copyright, and these are the subjects in which the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is intensively engaged. WIPO administers two so-called Internet Treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), both of 1996, which contain norms of international law for preventing unauthorized access to protected works and generally regulate their use on the Internet and other digital networks.

7. Acquisition of copyright

A work of authorship is protected from the moment of its creation and the acquisition of this right is not subject to any formalities or administrative procedure. However, an increasing number of countries, including Republic of Serbia, have sections for copyright and related rights within their national offices, which have an optional choice to deposit and/or register works of authorship and subject matter of related rights, with a view to facilitating the proving, marking and distinguishing of works.

8. Collective administration of copyright and related rights

Many authors and owners/holders of rights do not have the resources for monitoring the use and exercise of their copyright and related rights, particularly bearing in mind increased opportunities for use of literary and artistic works worldwide. As a result, in many countries there is an upward trend in the establishment of organizations for collective administration of rights. These organizations provide organized administrative and professional legal aid to their members in relation to monitoring, collection, management and distribution of royalties (payments for use) to those authors who are members of a given organization.

(Prepared on the basis of the WIPO publication no.: L 450CR/E)