Revised provisions on moral rights and economic rights

As per the intellectual property law, authors have moral rights and economic rights to their copyrighted works.

The Law Amending and Supplementing a Number of Articles of the Law on Intellectual Property (the Law) adds a new significant moral right, namely the right to title copyrighted works[1]. Authors may license this right to organizations or individuals that acquire economic rights specified in Article 20.1[2].

Regarding economic rights, the Law adds many provisions detailing some of these rights, listing exceptions to copyright holders’ right to prevent or prohibit others from reproducing copyrighted works, and providing the right of authors and copyright holders to computer programs. Specifically as follows:

  • It provides in greater detail the right to display copyrighted works to the public. Accordingly, authors may display directly or indirectly through phonograms, video recordings or any technical devices their works at places accessible to the public on the condition that the public cannot freely choose the time of display and each part of works to be displayed.
  • It also further elaborates on the right to reproduce, distribute or import copyrighted works for distribution to the public. Accordingly, authors may directly or indirectly reproduce the whole or part of their works by any means or in whatever form, except where they are prevented or prohibited by copyright holders, and distribute or import copyrighted works in the physical form for distribution to the public by sale or other forms of ownership transfer, unless otherwise provided by law. 
  • It adds exceptions to the right of copyright holders to prevent or prohibit other entities or persons from reproducing, distributing or importing copyrighted works. Accordingly, copyright holders may not prevent or prohibit other entities or individuals from reproducing copyrighted works only for exercising other rights in accordance with the Law; temporarily reproducing such works according to a technological process or in the course of operation of devices for transmission within a network among third parties through intermediaries; lawfully utilizing such works not for independent economic purposes, with copies thereof automatically and irretrievably deleted; or subsequently distributing or importing for distribution original works or copies thereof that have been permitted by copyright holders. These new provisions are quite necessary as technology has become an essential part of the process of storing and distribution of copyrighted works and help ensure that technological systems, when being used for exercising the reproduction right, must satisfy the requirement on non-economic copy use purposes and that reproduced copies will be automatically and irretrievably deleted.
  • It makes some changes to the right to make derivative works and copy right to cinematographic works, dramatic works, computer programs and data collections. Specifically, the making of derivative works must not infringe upon moral rights of authors of original works[3]. The Law adds many types of persons involved in the making of cinematographic works who may be regarded as co-authors who have certain moral rights depending on the importance of their roles in the work making. It also additionally specifies cases where music works or screenplays in cinematographic works or dramatic works are used independently, authors may enjoy copyright to such screenplays or music works independently, unless otherwise agreed upon in writing.

The Law adds one specific right of computer program authors or copyright holders. By this right, computer program authors or copyright holders may reach written agreement on modification or upgrading of such programs. Organizations and individuals having the right to lawfully use copies of computer programs may make backup copies to replace such copies once they are deleted or damaged or can no longer be used but may not transfer backup copies to others[4].

[1] Article 1.5 of the Law.

[2] Of the 2009 IP Law.

[3] The Law adds the case where derivative works, which are likely to affect original works, may still be made with written consent of authors of original works.

[4] Article 1.6 of the Law.

Author: Nguyen Xuan Quang, LL.D., and Le Nhat Hong

Ho Chi Minh City University of Law

Source: Vietnam Law and Legal Forum magazine