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Copyright registration in Vietnam

Pursuant to the Intellectual Property Law, copyright is the right of organizations and individuals toward works created or owned by them. Copyright is recognized for literary, artistic and scientific works such as books, lectures, musical works, stage works, cinematographic works,…. Copyright automatically arises from the moment a work is fixed in a specified material form, whether the work is published or unpublished, registered or unregistered.

Related rights are the rights of organizations and individuals to performances, phonograms, video recordings, broadcast programs, and satellite signals carrying encrypted programs.

Although copyright registration is not required, in case an individual or an organization that is an author has registered copyright / related rights with the Copyright Office – literature and arts will bring a variety of advantages when a dispute occurs.

Legal basis

Law on Intellectual Property 2005, amended and supplemented in 2009, 2019.

Individuals, organizations own the right to copyright registration

Pursuant to Article 13 of Law on Intellectual Property Law 2005, authors and copyright holders with works which are protected by copyright include:

  • Organizations and individuals with works which are protected by copyright comprise persons who directly create such works and copyright holders.
  • Authors and copyright holders mentioned above shall comprise Vietnamese organizations and individuals; foreign organizations and individuals with works published for the first time in Vietnam and not yet published in any other country, or with works also published in Vietnam within 30 days after publication for the first time in another country; and foreign organizations and individuals with works which are protected in Vietnam pursuant to an international treaty on copyright of which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a member

Types of works which are eligible for Copyright registration protection

Pursuant to Article 14 of Law on Intellectual Property Law 2005, amended in Clause 5, Article 1 of Law amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Law on Intellectual Property 2009, protected literary, artistic and scientific works include:

  • Literary and scientific works, textbooks, teaching courses and other works expressed in written languages or other characters;
  • Lectures, addresses and other sermons;
  • Press works;
  • Musical works;
  • Dramatic works;
  • Cinematographic works and works created by a process analogous to cinematography (below collectively referred to as cinematographic works);
  • Plastic-art works and works of applied art;
  • Photographic works;
  • Architectural works;
  • Sketches, plans, maps and drawings related to topography, architecture or scientific works;
  • Folklore and folk art works of folk culture;
  • Computer programs and data compilations.

This article also stipulates: Derivative works (Derivative works are works translated from one language to another, or an adapted, modified, transformed, compiled, annotated or selected work) are only protected if such protection is not prejudicial to the copyright in the works used to create such derivative works.

In addition, the above works must be created directly by the author through his intellectual labor without copying the work of others.

Time limitation of copyright and rights related

Types of works which are eligible for Copyright registration protection protection

Pursuant to Article 27 of Law on Intellectual Property Law 2005, amended in Clause 8, Article 1 of Law amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Law on Intellectual Property 2009:

  • Moral rights comprise rights: to give titles to their works; to attach their real names or pseudonyms to their works, to be mentioned their real names or pseudonyms when their works are published or used; to publish their works or to authorize other persons to publish their works; to protect the integrity of their works; and to forbid other persons to modify, edit or distort their works in whatever form, causing harm to the honour and reputation of the author, which are under limited protection.
  • The right to publish or allow others to publish the work, and the property right has the following terms of protection:
  • Cinematographic works, photographic works, works of applied art and anonymous works have a term of protection of 75 years from the date of the first publication. For cinematographic works, photographic works and works of applied art which remain unpublished within 25 years from the date of fixation, the term of protection is 100 years from the date of fixation. For anonymous works, when information on their authors is published, the term of protection will be calculated under the clause mentioned below;
  • A work not specified at the clause above is protected for the whole life of the author and for 50 years after his/her death. For a work under joint authorship, the term of protection expires in the 50th year after the death of the last surviving co-author;
  • The term of protection specified above expires at of December 31st of the year of expiration of the copyright protection term.

Copyright registration is also known as copyright protection, the purpose is to ensure creators of works against illegal use of works such as thieve, copy, abuse those works. In the event of a dispute, the Copyright Registration Certificate is the best proof of the author’s ownership toward the work. Furthermore, it is also a proof of ownership used when valuing the company’s assets in the case of equitization, merger or acquisition. The registration of copyrights is one of the administrative procedures with competent state agencies for the owners to apply for the License to publish books, stories, …

In our country today, the issue of copyright protection in general is still very weak. The assessment to grant a copyright registration certificate is conducted on the basis of the commitment of the owner of that logo, there is no synchronous system to manage and check the possibility whether the registered logo is a copied version of another logo or not, especially in case the logo’s author has not published his own work. The registration for copyright protection is not a mandatory procedure to enjoy copyright and it is not the basis of establishing copyright; Works, whether registered or not registered, enjoy the same protection. The established copyright is not absolute, so the enforcement and protection of the rights are not thorough. The problem of copying a logo is complicated, difficult to prove how is copyright infringement…

In addition, works of applied art can be protected in the form of trademark registration.

This is a protection procedure that ensures the strongest ownership legally for the owner of the logo (work of applied art). Trademark registration protection includes: protecting both text and image content (if the logo includes words), against the act of using a similar logo that causes confusion, even if it is not 100% identical. Trademarks have strict regulations on coincidences, causing confusion to assess the level of infringement when being copied and used without permission.

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