COPYRIGHT PROTECTION IN MALTA
– Literary works
The Maltese Copyright Act provides that the term “literary work” shall
include, any of the following, or works similar thereto:
(a) novels, stories and poetical works;
(b) plays, stage directions, choreographic works or entertainment in dumb
show, film scenarios and broadcasting script;
(c) textbooks, treatises, histories, biographies, essays and articles;
(d) encyclopaedias and dictionaries;
(e) letters, reports and memoranda;
(f) lectures, addresses and sermons;
(g) computer programmes.
is important to note that this protection is offered irrespective of the
literary quality of the work.
Copyright Protection –
The law provides that the term “musical work” shall refer to any musical
work, irrespective of musical quality, and includes works composed for
musical accompaniment. Under this category, one also finds song lyrics
which qualify as literary works.
Copyright Protection –
Irrespective of artistic quality, this term includes the following:
(a) paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, engravings and
(b) maps, plans, diagrams and three-dimensional works relative to
geography, science or topography, but excluding semiconductor product
(c) works of sculpture (including the cast or mould);
(d) photographs not comprised in an audiovisual work;
(e) works of architecture in the form of buildings or models; and
(f) works of artistic craftsmanship, including pictorial woven tissues and
articles of applied handicraft and industrial art.
work will only be eligible for copyright if it satisfies three criteria,
namely – qualification, originality and fixation.
Copyright is granted to an eligible work automatically. Therefore there is
no need for registration under Maltese law as the Act provides that
protection is granted ipso jure upon creation of the work. This
protection is obviously limited by territoriality. The main connecting
factors would be domicile or citizenship of the creation. Through a
network of Conventions to which Malta is a party, the litigations
presented by territoriality are, to a large extent, reduced. Copyright
protection is also conferred on every work which is eligible for copyright
and which is made or first published in Malta.
Upon establishing that a work is entitled to copyright protection under
the Act, such protection shall subsist for 70 years after the end of the
year in which the author dies, irrespective of the date when the work is
made available to the public.
through Copyright Protection
Copyright endows the author of a literary, musical or artistic work with
two categories of rights – material and moral. Material rights further
sub-divide into reproduction and distribution rights, and performance
rights. Moral rights are personal rights and arise from the amount of
intellectual or physical creativity exercised by the author.
Copyright is infringed by any person who, without a licence from the
copyright owner, does any of the prohibited acts listed in the Act. A
licence is an express or implied authorisation by the copyright owner to
do one or more of such acts.
The two classes of infringement are: primary and secondary infringement.
The former refers to situations when a person, performs any of the
prohibited acts that are the exclusive competence of the author, without
the necessary authorisation, e.g. copying the materials in a CD. The
latter refers to situations where an infringer deals in articles that have
already breached copyright, e.g. selling pirated CDs.
The law also provides for direct or indirect infringement. The former is
the emulation of protected material in its original form. The latter is
the copying of the protected work in a form recognisably derived from the
in other forms of IP, copyright is transferred through assignment, by
operation of law or by testamentary disposition as movable property. An
assignment or testamentary disposition of copyright may be limited or
non-limited, according to the wishes of the copyright owner. The
assignment of copyright can only be perfected by means of an agreement in
writing between the parties.
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