Copyright protection in the digital environment

Copyright issues on digital platforms have been controversial recently. The most recent case is the case of musician Giang Son being complained of copyright “Giac mo trua”. When faced with this problem, artists, art exploiters, and audiences are confused and cannot distinguish what’s real and what’s fake, the copyright story is hotter than ever. So how can artists and mining companies ensure that they always comply with copyright regulations and make a profit in the exploitation of artworks? Lawyer Le Thi Thu Huong – director of T2H Law Liability limited Company has some sharing on this issue as follows:

  1. What rights does a musical work include?

According to the provisions of the current Intellectual Property Law, musical works are one of the subjects protected by copyright. Pursuant to Article 10 of Decree 22/2018/ND-CP stipulating that a musical work is a work expressed in the form of musical notes in a piece of music or other musical characters with or without lyrics, regardless of to perform or not to perform. Copyright in a musical work arises when the work is created and expressed in a certain material form, without the need for registration or publication. However, in order to avoid disputes and easily prove that the work belongs to them, the author should carry out the procedures for applying for a certificate of copyright registration for that work.

2. What rights do authors of musical works have?

It is necessary to clearly distinguish the author of a song who can also be the owner of that song or not. In case the author is both the copyright owner, he or she has full personal and property rights to that song, including: Naming the song; putting your real name or pseudonym on the song; be given a real name or a pseudonym when the song is published or used; publishing the song and the right to protect the integrity of the song, property rights (making derivative works; performing the song in public; copying the song; distributing, importing the original or a copy of the song; communicating the song to the public). The owner would assign the copyright or license the right to use the copyright. Assignment of copyright means the transfer of all property rights by the copyright owner and the right to publish the transferable work. License of the use right of a copyright means the copyright holder allows another individual or organization to use for a definite term one, or several, property rights and the right to publish his or her work.

3. What rights does a sound or video recording producer have? How to exploit audio and video recordings?

In order to bring a song to the public in a more attractive form, producers can collaborate with artists to produce audio and video recordings. Sound or video recording is a fixation of sounds and images of a performance or other sounds and images, or a fixation of the reproduction of sounds and images, not in the form of a fixation associated with a cinematographic work or a work created by a similar method. If an artist creates a work and is also a producer of a sound or video recording, they have full rights to that recording, normally these two subjects are different.

Pursuant to Article 30 of the Law on Intellectual Property, producers of phonograms or video recordings have the exclusive right to exercise or permit others to exercise the following rights:

  • To directly or indirectly reproduce their phonograms and video recordings;
  • To import and distribute to the public their original phonograms and video recordings and copies thereof by sale, rent or distribution by whatever technical means accessible by the public.
  • Producers of phonograms and video recordings will enjoy material benefits when their phonograms and video recordings are distributed to the public.

4. What should be done to protect copyright?

To prevent copyright infringement on today’s digital platforms, artists and producers should actively protect their rights through the following measures: Registering copyright in exchange for your work; signing a contract for the transfer of copyright; licensing the use of copyright, signing a contract with the producer author with strict terms and conditions; monitoring and drastically handling infringements. For entities doing business in the digital environment, it is necessary to strengthen communication about the effectiveness of copyright protection with customers, and the general public.

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