Copyright is regulated in the Copyright Act. This act stipulates that copyright is the exclusive right of the creator (or their successors in title) to a literary, scientific or artistic work. The exclusive right relates to the publication and/or reproduction of a work. Copyright arises informally. When singing four or five tones or sketching a logo, copyright arises. This is in contrast to registering a trademark, which must meet certain formal requirements. A trademark that is not registered does not create any rights. After all, the exclusive right to a trademark is obtained by registering it. Proof of copyright is therefore considerably more complicated than proof of the right to a trademark.
The law lists what is regarded as work within the meaning of the Copyright Act. Works include books, newspapers, but also oral lectures, music programmes, film works, computer programmes. Not every work meets the criteria of the Copyright Act. The work must meet the criterion developed in case law: the originality requirement. This requirement is taken to mean that a creator of a work is only entitled to copyright if the work has its own original character and bears the creator’s personal stamp.
Copyright belongs to the creator of the work, unless the creator is employed or otherwise related to an employer. In that case, the situation may be different. An exception is an employee who is in charge of the payroll administration. If this person develops a new house style for his employer, the creator is the copyright holder.
Copyright is not an infinite right. Unlike trademark law, where trademark registration can be renewed every 10 years, copyright ends 70 years after the death of the creator.
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