Copyright and Related Rights

What is copyright?

Copyright is the right given by law to the author of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work to control the copying and other use of his work.

What are related rights?

Related rights, also termed neighbouring rights, are rights akin to copyright that are enjoyed by broadcasters, performers and producers of sound recordings.

 

How does a work qualify for protection?

To qualify for protection, a work must first be original. Secondly, it must have passed the "idea stage" and have been fixed in some tangible form (e.g. put in writing).

 

Who benefits from protection?

To benefit from protection, a work must have been created by one or more citizens or residents of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, or in the case of published works, the first publication must have taken place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines or in another country that has been specified in subsidiary legislation. All performances taking place within the State are protected.

How do I get protection for my work?

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, copyright arises by operation of law and subsists in all works which meet the legal prerequisites. The applicable law is the Copyright Act, No. 21 of 2003, which came into operation on 30th November 2004. Registration of works is not required and there is no system of voluntary registration.

 

How do I give notice that I am the owner of a work?

To signify ownership of a work, it is usual to place a copyright notice on the work, consisting of the copyright symbol ©, the name of the right holder and the date of creation of the work. In addition, for the purpose of being able to prove ownership of a work, you should keep as much of the formative material as you can, e.g. lyric sheets, musical scores, demo tapes and rough recordings, working documents, sketches and drafts. It is also helpful to include unique "signatures" such as watermarks and comments in electronic image files. .

What are the specific rights that come with copyright?

The author of a protected work enjoys both commercial rights and moral rights. The commercial rights include the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the reproduction of the work in any form, its public performance, broadcasting of the work or other means of communication to the public, distribution by sale, rental or public lending, translation into other languages and adaptation, arrangement or other transformation. The author is entitled to assign or license these rights if he so desires. The moral rights consists of the right to be identified as the author of the work and to oppose any alteration or distortion of the work that could harm the author' reputation. Unlike economic rights, moral rights cannot be sold or transferred.

How long does copyright protection lasts?


Category of work

Period of protection

Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works of known authorship

remainder of the life of author after creation of the work plus 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies

Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works of known authorship

50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work is made

Computer generated works having no human author

50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work is made

Sound recordings and films

50 years from the end of calendar year in which the recording or film was made or made available to the public

Broadcasts and cable programmes

50 years from the end of calendar year in which the broadcast was made or the programme included in a cable programme service

Typographical arrangements of published editions

25 years from first publication

n

Performances

50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the performance takes place

Designs serived from artistic work contained in marketed articles

50 years from the end of the year in which the articles was first markted

Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works first published by/under the direction or control of a prescribed int’l organisation

50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made or such longer period as the Minister may specify by Order.

 

Are there any exceptions to the author's right to control use of his work?

Yes. The law allows a limited degree of reproduction of protected works without the permission of their creators. The exceptions to infringement include:

  • "fair dealing" with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for research or private study, criticism , review or reporting current events.
  • incidental inclusion in an artistic work, sound recording, film, broadcast or cable programme.
  • where it is not possible by reasonable inquiry to ascertain the identity of the author and it is reasonable to assume that the copyright has expired or that the author died 75 years or more before the beginning of the year of use.
  • where a direct record of spoken words is made with the authority of a person lawfully in possession of the record, for the purpose of reporting current events or for broadcasting or inclusion in a cable programme service and the making of the record was not prohibited by the speaker or copyright owner .
  • >copying by educators for educational purposes.
  • copy and/or supply of part of a literary, dramatic or musical work by a librarian or archivist.
  • use of sound recordings by a charitable organisation for charitable purposes.
  • reporting of parliamentary or judicial proceedings.
  • statutory licences.
  • reading or recitation of a literary work in public provided there is sufficient acknowledgement of the author.
  • graphic or photographic representations or visual images of buildings, models of buildings, sculptures and works of artistic craftsmanship works on display to the public.
  • recording a broadcast or cable programme solely for the purpose of viewing at a more convenient time.

What about the enforcement of copyright?

The 2003 Copyright Act strengthens the ability of the Courts, the Police and Customs Officials to enforce the rights of copyright owners. Its enforcement provisions include:

  • Provision for copyright owners to give notice to the Comptroller of Customs to restrict the importation of infringing copies of protected works (s.48)
  • Authorisation of forcible entry and search of premises by a police officer of the rank of Sergeant or above under a warrant, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect infringement and provision for seizure, removal and detention of any infringing copy or illicit recording found in such premises or any article intended for use in making such copies or recordings. (s.138)

To deter unauthorised reproduction:

  • Liability to a fine of $1,500.00 on summary conviction for a first offence of possession of an article designed or adapted for making infringing copies for sale, hire or use in the course of business and in the case of a subsequent offence, liability to a fine of $1,500.00 or imprisonment for a maximum term of 12 months (s.44 (2), (5)).

To deter unauthorised public performances:

  • Liability to a fine of $1,500.00 on summary conviction for a first offence of causing an infringing public performance or showing of protected work, and in the case of a subsequent offence, liability to a fine of $1,500.00 or imprisonment for a maximum term of 12 months (s.44 (3))

To deter trade in counterfeit goods generally:

  • Liability on summary conviction for a first offence of making for sale or hire, selling, hiring, importing for commercial use or prejudicially distributing infringing copies of protected works to a fine of $5,500.00 for each article to which the offence relates, and in the case of any subsequent offence, liability to such fine as may be determined by the Court or imprisonment for a maximum term of 2 years (s.44 (1) and (4)).

To deter trade in illicit recordings (e.g. CD, video, and DVD piracy):

  • Liability on summary conviction to a penalty of $2,500.00 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months for the manufacture for sale or hire, importation for commercial use or possession, diston indictment, to aribution, sale, hire or offer of illicit recordings in the course of a business or for causing a recording to be shown or played in public or broadcast without the consent of the performer or holder of the recording rights. Liability on conviction fine not exceeding $50,000.00 or imprisonment for a maximum term of 5 years or both.
  • In cases where there is a danger of continuing infringement, in addition to any penalty imposed, a fine of EC$500.00 for each day on which the infringement is continued.

Copyright: the big picture!

It is a common misconception that copyright is of lesser relevance to developing countries than to developed nations.It must however be remembered that since the recording industry and other copyright-based industries are driven by the limitless resource of human creativity, they are apt to be more sustainable than industries that depend on limited physical resources. Creative industries are therefore a viable option for economic diversification in developing nations. Copyright protection has also been seen to have a positive effect on cultural development as the ability to obtain legal protection for creative work serves as a stimulus to further creativity.

End of FAQ

 

eRegistry