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Copyright FAQs

Can I copyright names, titles, slogans?

Can I copyright my Internet Domain names?

Can a database be protected?

Do I need to register my Copyright?

What is the duration of the Copyright protection?

What is not protected by Copyright?

What is Copyright infringement?

Must I seek the owner's permission before I make copies of the work?

What is fair dealing?

Who may sue for Copyright infringement?

Who owns the Copyright?

Is Copyright transferable?

Do I need to use the copyright symbol or mark ‘Copyright’ on my work?

What does the symbol ‘C’ denote?

Can I copyright my ideas


Can I copyright names, titles, slogans?

Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. These may be protected as trade marks under the Trade Marks laws, provided they are registered, and under common law, if the mark is unregistered.

Can I copyright my Internet Domain names?

Copyright laws do not protect domain names.  You may, however, protect your domain name under Trade Mark laws.

Can a database be protected?

Yes, databases may receive copyright protection for the selection and arrangement of the contents. In addition, a database right may exist in a database. This is an automatic right, and it protects databases against the unauthorised extraction and reuse of the contents of the database.  Database rights last for 15 years from the making. However, if published during this time, then the term is 15 years from publication.

Do I need to register my Copyright?

Unlike the US and Canada, most other countries including Malaysia do not offer any kind of copyright registration system since the creation of an original work automatically entitles you to a copyright. 

What is the duration of the Copyright protection?

This varies according to the nature of the work, and whether or not it has been published. Generally, it is for the lifetime of the author, and extending to 50 years after his death.

What is not protected by Copyright?

Copyright protection extends only to expressions. Therefore, ideas, procedures, methods of operation, or mathematical concepts as such are not protected. Neither are most titles, names, catch phrases and other short-word combinations.

What is Copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement is the unlawful use of the copyrighted materials.

Must I seek the owner's permission before I make copies of the work?

Although making copies of copyright material can infringe exclusive rights, a certain amount of copying is permissible under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright laws.

What is fair dealing?

It is not an infringement of copyright if the copying of copyrighted materials is for purposes of non-profit research, private study, criticism, review, or the reporting of current events.

Who may sue for Copyright infringement?

Depending on the case, infringement of copyright may be acted upon by the first owner, the assignee, or the exclusive licensee of the copyrighted materials.

Who owns the Copyright?

Generally, the owner of the copyright is

  • the creator of the work; or
  • the employer, if the work was created in the course of employment (unless there is an agreement to the contrary); or 
  • the person who commissions a
  • some other party, if the original owner has transferred his or her rights by way of an assignment testamentary disposition or by operation of law, in which case the assignee shall be the owner. work for valuable consideration (unless there is an agreement to the contrary);or


Is Copyright transferable?

Transfer of ownership of the copyright from one party to another may be by an assignment, testamentary disposition, or by operation of law.

Do I need to use the copyright symbol or mark ‘Copyright’ on my work?

Although not necessary, marking it is useful, as it serves as a general reminder to everyone that the work is protected by a copyright.

What does the symbol ‘C’ denote?

The symbol is used to warn others against copying a particular work. The copyright symbol "C" is usually followed by the name of the author, along with the date.  Although the law does not require the use of the copyright symbol, it is nevertheless advisable to use it, particularly in technical drawings, designs, and computer programmes. This serves to draw the attention of others to the copyright in place.

Can I copyright my ideas?

A copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your writing or drawings.  If your ideas were elaborated by someone else who then expressed it in writing or drawings, that person can claim and will derive copyright to those works.  Remember, a copyright will protect the expression of the idea but not the idea itself.