Malaysia: Copyright Registration In Malaysia

Last Updated: 16 April 2019
Article by Dhruv Verma

Intellectual Property is a type of property that broadly speaking consists of creations of the mind. Briefly intellectual property can be further sub classified into patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs and Geographical indications. Each of these categories refers to different sets of protection or rights that can be granted towards respective intellectual creations. These rights grant the owner the chance to control the use or selling or production or distribution of the protected item or process.

Copyright basically refers to protection granted towards literary or artistic works. Copyrighted work may be denoted by the symbol "©", this symbol can be placed in or on the work which has been copyrighted. When we say literary or artistic work, it basically includes books, music, paintings, video/films, sculptures, computer programs, databases, advertisements, technical drawings etc. The protection in terms of copyright gives the owner a freehand in terms of controlling the reproduction or adaption of his work. Copyrights like other intellectual property rights can be used to protect revenue earning assets an organization might have, also since copyright can be referred to as an asset, they also appear on balance sheets of the organization. The simplest of examples to understand and relate to what copyrights are and how they work is YouTube. YouTube as a platform allows for individuals to create content in terms of videos and share it to the world. In recent times, with an explosion in the number of people posting content, copyright laws help protect the exploitation of an individual's work on such independent platforms. YouTube allows for content creators to push forward a request of Copyright violation if they see their content being used by other people, which in turn stop the infringer of the said content from monetizing it. This is a simple reference to understand how and what copyright is in basic terminologies.

In Malaysia, a creator of the original work automatically holds the right to it. There is a little need for having this as a registration; however it is advisable to get the registration as it will help with establishing concrete evidence of ownership and the timeline which ultimately helps with enforcing the rights. In case copyright has been applied for by a representative of the original creator in Malaysia, an additional documentation is required along with its relevant charges. However if it has been applied for by the original creator, there will be no requirement for an additional documentation or the relevant charges for the same.

The official website of the Intellectual Property of Malaysia is very descriptive and helps not only businesses but also individuals with no prior understanding of the process. The website lists what is eligible to be copyrighted, what the copyright rights entails for the applicant, the duration of the copyright protection etc.

For instance, copyright protection on a literary, musical or artistic work generally last for the life of the author and 50 years post the death of the author or creator of the work. For broadcasts, protection is considered from the date of when the first broadcast was made (wire or wireless means) up to a period of 50 years.

One can also find a detailed explanation in terms of broad categories of rights (Legal, Economic and moral). These categories enlist the rights available to the creator of the copyright work. Legal rights pertain to the enforcement aspect of the protection by civil or criminal prosecution. Economic rights point to the financial aspect by allowing the owner to derive financial gain from the user infringing upon his rights. Lastly, Moral rights allow for the owner to claim the originality of his work and additionally also protects the owner by prohibiting users from distorting or modifying the original work which in turn can cause harm to the reputation of the creator or even misrepresentation of the original work. Additionally, the websites lists some general situations which can be considered as infringements of rights under the Copyright Act (1987) in Malaysia.

These modules of information readily available in today's world embolden and empower individual or businesses trying to enter into Malaysia. Apart from these information modules, one can also easily refer the official website for subsequent charges/fees that might be incurred, along with a flow chart representation of the process of the registration or applying for a copyright and a checklist for a smoother experience.

The readily available information helps with creating a basic frame of reference and information that can be made use of by the business or individuals looking for a copyright protection. This also does shed light on the importance of ensuring that individual creators/businesses are aware of the necessity of these protections and how to go about acquiring them. Another lesson to be understood and inculcated here is the importance of copyright as an asset which can be used to further revenue for businesses or individuals.




The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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