Copyright protection is obtained in all kinds of expressions. Copyright does not only encompass artistic works such as literature, art, film and music, but also other kinds of expressions, such as e.g.:
- Computer program codes,
- Collation of databases,
- Works of applied art and
- Products used in industry.
All kinds of expressions and objects can be protected provided they are the result of an original and individual creative effort.
Copyright law in the European Union is becoming increasingly harmonized. One consequence may be that the threshold level for obtaining copyright protection in Norway is/will be reduced.
In most countries, copyright is an unregistered right which comes into being when the work is created. It is not a registrable right. Usually copyright protection lasts for 70 years after the death of the author.
The right to a copyright is relevant in many situations, such as the following:
A classic case of copyright infringement is product copying. It is not uncommon that works of applied art are copied and sold as cheap knock-offs. One question commonly arising in these situations is if the copy product constitutes infringement of copyright.
A well-known example from Norway concerns Stokke’s TRIPP TRAPP chair. The Norwegian Supreme Court has held that the chair is protected by copyright. Norwegian courts have also found that copyright subsides in prefabricated houses and vases/bowls.
There are cases in other Scandinavian countries of designers being afforded damages in the millions for copyright infringement.
Ownership to copyright:
The issue of ownership to copyright and the scope of distribution and licensing agreements may arise in contractual relationships concerning copyright protected products.
Registration of copyright abroad:
In some jurisdictions, it is possible to register copyright. Among the countries where this is possible is China, Indonesia and the USA. Copyright registration can be useful for enforcement if the product in question is not protected through design registration and the product is being copied.
In some of these countries it may also be useful to protect logos by way of copyright registration. Logos are normally protected as trade marks, however registration of logos as copyright may be a useful supplement to trade mark protection because copyright protection is not limited to specific goods and services.
What can Protector offer?
Our lawyers have extensive experience in advising clients in connection with conflicts and contractual relationships relating to copyright.
We furthermore assist our clients in the registration of copyright outside of Norway.