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What is copyright?

Copyright FAQ 1

Copyright FAQ is the exclusive right given by law for a determinable time period to the author of the work to control the use of the work in Malaysia.

Which Act governs the protection of copyright in Malaysia?

Copyright FAQ 2

Copyright protection is governed by the Copyright Act 1987.

What works get copyright protection?

Copyright FAQ 3

The following works are protected (Copyright FAQ):-

(i)    Literary works;
(ii)    Musical works;
(iii)    Artistic works;
(iv)    Films;
(v)    Sounds recordings;

Does Malaysia have a registration system for copyright?

Copyright FAQ 4

Beginning June 1st, 2012 Copyright Voluntary Notification System has been operating in Malaysia.

What are the ways to prove ownership of copyright?

Copyright FAQ 5

To prove ownership of copyright, the owner can either:-

(i)    Make a Statutory Declaration in accordance with the Statutory Declaration Act 1960; or
(ii)   Self address the work in a sealed envelope.

What are the qualifications for protection of copyright?

Copyright FAQ 6

 (i)    Sufficient effort has been expanded to make the work original in character;
(ii)    The work has been written down, recorded or otherwise reduced into material form;
(iii)    The author is a qualified person; and
(iv)    The work is made in Malaysia or the work is first published in Malaysia.

How to owns copyright?

Ownership of copyright is dependent on the following:-

(i)    The work is produced under a contract of service;
– Copyright is owned by the employer.

(ii)    The work is produced under a contract for service;
– Copyright is owned by the author.

(iii)    Commissioned work
– Copyright is owned by the person who commissioned the work.

Can copyright be transferred?

Copyright is transferable by assignment, testamentary disposition and by operation of law.

The Copyright Act 1987 grants moral right to the author of the works.

The Copyright Act 1987 grants moral right to the author of the works.

What types of moral right are given by the Act?

Two type of moral right are given:-
(i)    The right of paternity; and
(ii)    The right of integrity.

What right can be utilized by the owner of copyright for infringement of moral right?

The owner can sue inter alia for statutory damages and injunction.

What is the duration for copyright protection?

  1. For literary, music and artistic works, copyright subsist during the life of the author and 50 years after the death;
  2. For sounds recording, films and broadcasts, copyright subsist 50 years from the year following the publication of the work; and
  3. For published edition, copyright subsist 50 years from the year following the year of edition was first published.

What are the exclusive rights of the owner?

The copyright owner has the exclusive right to control the whole or substantial part of the work especially:-

  • The reproduction in any material form (including making photocopies, recording and others);
  • The communication to the public;
  • The performance, showing or playing to the public;
  • The distribution of copies to the public by sale or other transfer pf ownership; and
  • The commercial rental to the public.

What acts amount to infringement of copyright?

  1. The copyright FAQ in a work infringed when a person, not being owner of the copyright, and without license from the owner, does or authorizes any of the following acts:-

    1. Reproduced in any material form, performs, shows or plays or distributes to the public.
    2. Communicates by cable or broadcast of the whole works or a substantial part thereof either in its original or derivative form;
    3. Import any article into Malaysia for the purpose of trade or financial gains;
    4. Make for sale or hire any infringing copy;
    5. Sells, lets for hire or by way of trade, exposes of offers for sale or hire any infringing copy;
    6. Distributes infringing copies;
    7. Possesses, otherwise then for his private and domestic use, any infringing copy;
    8. By way of trade, exhibits in public any infringing copy;
    9. Imports into Malaysia, otherwise than for his private and domestic use, an infringing copy;
    10. Make or has in his possession any contrivance used or intended to be used for the purpose of making infringing copy; or
    11. Causes the work to be performed in public.

What are the exceptions to the exclusive right granted by the Copyright Act 1987 to the user of the work?

Usage of the work by way of fair dealing for the following purpose accompanied by an acknowledgement of the title of the work and authorship is allowed:-
(i)    non-profit research;
(ii)    private study; and
(iii)    Review or the reporting of current event.

Who is responsible for enforcement of copyright?

  1. The Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism (Enforcement Division) and The Royal Malaysia Police are responsible for enforcement of the law.

What is Collective Management Organisation (CMO)?

A Collective Management Organisation (CMO) is a body empowered by the owner to collect payment/ royalty on behalf of the copyright owner.

Does the Government of Malaysia recognize these Collective Management Organisation (CMO)?

These Collective Management Organisation (CMO) are recognized by the Government of Malaysia.

What is the right given by the Collective Management Organisation (CMO) to the parties applying for a license?

The Collective Management Organisation (CMO) can grant a license to play the copyright work in public to the applicant

What are the qualifications for protection performers?

Performers right shall subsist in every live performance of which the performer is:-
(i)    A citizen or permanent resident of Malaysia; or
(ii)    Not a citizen or permanent resident of Malaysia but whose performance:-
•    Takes place in Malaysia;
•    Is incorporated in sound recording that are protected under this Act: or
•    Has not been fixed in a sound recoding but is included in a broadcast qualifying for protection under this Act.

What dose the Collective Management Organisation (CMO) do with the royalty collected?

The royalty is distributed by the society to the copyright owner each year.

Does the Government determine the rate of the royalty collected by the Collective Management Organisation (CMO)?

The government does not control or is government involved in determining the rate. It is determined contractually between the owner and the Collective Management Organisation (CMO).

Why is the Government not involved?

Copyright is a private right belonging to the right holder.

If there is a dispute between the owner and the Collective Management Organisation (CMO), where are the avenues available to the owner?

The dispute can be settled via assistance from the Copyright Tribunal.

What is meant by performance right?

Performers’ rights are right granted to those taking part in a live public performance.

What is the duration of protection for performers right?

Protection is granted for a period of 50 years from the date of the performance.


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