Copyright is the exclusive
right given to the owner of a copyright for a copyright for a specific
period. Copyright protection in Malaysia is governed by the Copyright
Act 1987 and Copyright (Amendment) Act 1990 which comply with the standards and requirement of Berne Convention 1886. The Copyright Act was amended in 1996, 1997 and 2000 in order to streamline with the international development of the intellectual property system,
There is no system of formal registration for copyright in Malaysia. A work that is eligible is protected automatically upon fulfillment (1) sufficient effort has been expended to make the work original
in character; (2)
the work has been written down, recorded or reduced to a material
form; and (3) the author is a qualified person or the work is made in Malaysia
or the work is first published in Malaysia.
However, it is advisible for copyright owner to execute a Statutory Declaration as supporting document asserting his copyright any works eligible for copyright protection under Section 42 of Copyright Act, 1987. Tthe Statutory Declaration can become admissible as evidence in any infringement proceedings in the court and shall be prima facie proof of the facts contained therein.
What does Copyright protect?
Works eligible for protection
(1) literary works
(2) musical works
(3) artistic work
(5) sound recordings
(7) derivative work
Who owns Copyright?
Copyrights in a work
vests initially in the author (writer, composer, maker of the work,
etc). However, where the making of a work is made by an employee
in the course of his employment, unless there is any contrary agreement,
the copyright in the work shall be deemed to vest in the person
who commissioned the work or the employer. The author's right is
transferable by assignment, testamentary disposition or by operation
of law, in which case the asignee shall be the owner.
How long does
subsists during the life of the author plus 50 years after his death.
However, if a work has not been published during the life time of
the author, copyright in the work continues to subsist until the
expiration of 50 years, following the year in which the work was
first published. In the case of a work with joint authorship, the
life of the author who dies last is used for the purpose of calculating
the copyright duration of the work.
What are the
legal rights of Copyright Owners?
Generally, owners of
copyright works have the exclusive right to control:-
- the reproduction of the work in any form (including photocopying,
- the performing, showing or playing to the public;
- the communication to the public; and
- the distribution of copies to the public by sale or other transfer
The copyright in a work
is infringed when a person who, not being the owner of the copyright,
and without licence from the owner, does or authorises any of the
- reproduces in any material form, perfoms, shows or plays or distributes
to the public, communicates by cable or broadcast of the whole work
or a substantial part thereof either in its original or derivative
- imports any article into Malaysia for the purpose of trade or
- makes for sale or hire any infringing copy;
- sells, letsfor hire or by way of trade, exposes or offers for
sale or hire any infringing copy;
- distributes infringing copies;
- possesses, otherwise than for his private and domestic use, any
- by way of trade, exhibits in public any infringing copy;
- imports into Malaysia, otherwise than for his private and domestic
use, an infringing copy;
- makes or has in his possession any contrivance used or intended
to be used for the purpose of making infringing copies;
- causes the work to be performed in public.
The Copyright Act 1987
provides for the enforcement of the law by the Enforcement Division
of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, apart from
the Police. The act also provides necessary clout to the enforcement
agencies to effectively carry out anti-piracy measures. Copyright
owners shall lodge an official complaint supported by the necessary
documents to the Enforcement Division of the Ministry of Domestic
Trade and Consumer Affairs if they suspect infringement. Immediate
action will be taken by the said authority. The Division will conduct
the necessary investigations and prosecutions.
What is Copyright
The Malaysia Copyright
Act provides for a Copyright Tribunal whose function is to grant
licences tp produce and publish in the National Language a translation
of a literary work written in any other language and arbitration
of disputes relating to use of copyright works.
We welcome you becoming our client in Intellectual Property Division for your right protection.