Copyright is the most common tool in the sphere of intellectual property. It is important to know just what it can do. Copyright protects the expression of an idea. This means that you can copyright a novel or a song, but not the idea which caused the creation that novel or song. That is to say that the text of the novel cannot be copied, but the idea of the story is not protected.

Copyright in Malta applies to the following works:

  • artistic works
  • audiovisual works
  • databases
  • literary works
  • musical works

As an artist or creator you have every right to protect your work from being copied and to be remunerated for that work when it is used. The key advantage of copyright is that it requires no registration at all. All it requires is that the work is given a tangible form and that it is original. For example, a novel would have to be written and not just an idea in one’s mind. That novel would also have to be the intellectual creation of the person with the idea in order to be original.

Once one has copyright over any of the works above, they gain an extensive list of rights over that work as well as the right to remuneration in many cases where the work is used by somebody else. If the work is used by a person who is not the copyright owner without their consent (through the process of licence), this is considered to be copyright infringement, also known as piracy.

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