Copyright – what does it mean, in short?

In Romania, copyright is regulated by Law no. 8/1996 on copyright and related rights. From a legal perspective, it protects work of human creation.

The law does not provide a definition of human creation, but the listing of copyrighted works indicates that any literary (of any kind) or scientific writing, computer programs, oral speeches, pleadings, musical compositions with or without a text, works of art may be considered human creation, as long as they are original. Human creations can also include translations, adaptations and any other transformations of a literary, artistic or scientific work that represents an intellectual work of creation.

In addition to originality, it is important that the work is in a concrete and tangible form. Thus, copyright does not protect ideas, theories, concepts, scientific discoveries.

Who is the author of a creation?

The author of a human creation is presumed to be, until proven otherwise, the person under whose name the work was first made public. The law offers the possibility for the copyright to be transmitted by transfer or inheritance. In light of this, the quality of holder acquired enjoys legal protection, under the law. If, for example, the work has been made public in anonymity or under a pseudonym that does not allow the identification of the author, the copyright is exercised by the natural or legal person who makes it public with the consent of the author, provided that the author does not reveal his/her identity.

What rights does the author have?

Copyrights refer to moral rights and patrimonial rights.

Moral rights imply prerogatives such as: the right to decide whether, in what way and when the work will be brought to public knowledge; the right to claim recognition of the authorship of the work; the right to decide under what name the work will be made public; the right to claim respect for the integrity of the work and to oppose any modification, as well as any damage to the work, if it harms its honor or reputation.

Patrimonial rights, on the other hand, arise out of the use of the work by users. The author of the work can, either to authorize or forbid certain actions such as renting, borrowing, public communication, including by making the work available to the public, so that it can be accessed anywhere and at any time. chosen, individually, by the public.

The author of a work enjoys copyright, regardless of the fulfillment of any formalities, from the moment of creation of the work, as long as the work created meets the conditions for protection. Therefore, whoever is the author of an original and concrete creation, enjoys the legal protection of this law, without a special registration procedure. In case of violation of the copyright, the law provides for civil, contractual or criminal liability.

In which type of contracts can we find copyright?

Like any other right, copyright can be capitalized through contracts. Thus, the law provides contracts such as: the publishing contract, the theatrical or musical performance contract and the rental contract. Through the publishing contract, the copyright holder assigns to the publisher, in exchange for a remuneration, the right to reproduce and distribute the work.

Through the contract of theatrical representation or musical performance, the copyright holder assigns to a natural or legal person the right to represent or perform in public a current or future work, literary, dramatic, musical, dramatic-musical, choreographic or pantomime, in exchange for a remuneration, and the assignee undertakes to represent or execute it under the agreed conditions.

In the case of a lease contract, the author undertakes to allow the use, for a fixed period of time, of at least one copy of his work, in original or in copy, in particular computer programs or works fixed in sound or audiovisual recordings. The beneficiary of the rental right undertakes to pay a remuneration to the author for the period he uses that copy of the work.

What sort of limitations does copyright have?

At the same time, copyright is subject to certain limitations, expressly listed by law. The following uses of a work previously made public are permitted, without the consent of the author and without payment of any remuneration:

  • the production of a work in judicial, parliamentary or administrative proceedings or for public safety purposes,
  • the use of short quotations from a work, for analysis, commentary or critique or by way of example, insofar as their use justifies the length of the citation,
  • specific reproductions made by publicly accessible libraries, educational institutions or museums or by archives, which are not made for the purpose obtaining a commercial or economic advantage, directly or indirectly, etc.

An essential condition is attached to the limitations relating to good manners and the normal operation of the work. At the same time, they must not harm the author or the holders of the rights of use.

Copyright protection has practical applicability in the case of contracts concluded by persons carrying out freelancing activities, such as journalists. An employment contract applies to an employee with an employment contract, but to a person who works under a freelancing contract which involves copyrights, the special rules regarding the assignment of these rights apply first of all.

Therefore, if there is any doubt that the rights over one’s own creation cannot be protected or capitalized, Law no. 8/1996 contains the necessary rules and procedures to avoid possible damages and to remedy the already existing ones.

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