One of the most important Intellectual Property rights is copyright. Copyright is the exclusive right of the author of a literary, scientific pr artistic work to communicate that work to the public and to reproduce it, subject to the limitations laid down by Dutch law (exemptions are made in order to protect the freedom of press and for educational purposes). According to the Dutch Copyright Law copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author.
Only original works are protected by copyright. A work is original when it is the result of independent creative effort. Copyright does not protect ideas. The work needs to be fixed, for example in writing, to be protected. Once fixed, it is automatically protected which means that the work does not to be registered first. Examples of works protected by copyright are books, musical works, plays, films, paintings, photos, software and industrial software.
Communicating a work to the public is one of the exclusive rights of the owner. Think of broadcasting a program, publishing a book or uploading a work (e.g. text or music) on the Internet. Another exclusive right of the owner is the right to reproduce the work. This means that nobody else is allowed to print, copy or download the work without permission of the copyright owner.
Copyrights are regularly transferred. For example in case of the artist who signs a record deal with a record company to bring out his music. Or the writer who gives permission to a theatre company to enact a play based on his novel. To transfer a copyright you need to draw up a deed. Through this deed the owner transfers the control over the use of his work, often for payment.
Another option for the copyright owner is to grant someone a copyright license in exchange for a license fee. Herewith the licensee has the right to exploit the work for a certain period while the owner remains ownership over the work. A license can be exclusive in general or for a specific region. If this is the case the owner cannot grant the copyright to another third party. The licensee may have the right to further sublicense.
The Intellectual Property lawyers of Dutch law firm AMS can provide legal advice regarding copyright, such as drafting, a deed of transfer, license contracts or infringement issues.