1. Copyrighted works 

– Literary and scientific works, textbooks, teaching materials and other works expressed in forms of letters or other writing characters;

– Lectures, presentations and other speeches;

– Journalistic works;

– Musical works;

– Dramatic works;

– Cinematographic works and works created by similar methods;

– Fine art works and applied art works;

– Photographic works;

– Architectural works;

– Graphics, sketches, maps, drawings relevant to topography and scientific works;

– Folk artistic and literary works;

– Computer programs and compilations of data.

In order to be protected, a work must be original. The protection is also given to the work regardless of its form of embodiment and quality.

Derivative works shall only be protected if such protection is not prejudicial to the copyright in the works used to create such derivative works.

2. Exceptions for copyright protection

Under the current regulations of Vietnam, the following subject matter shall be excluded from copyrights protection

(i)    News of the day, as providing information only;

(ii)   Legal legislations, administrative and other judicial documents, and official translations thereof;

(iii)   Processes, systems, method of operation, concepts, principles and data.

3. Authors and Copyright Owners

Copyright protection shall be given to an author who is defined as the person directly creating the whole or part of a literary, artistic, scientific work and as the person who have created derivative works from other’s works, including works translated from one language into another, recreated, transformed, adapted, compiled, annotated, or selected works.

Apart from the author of a work, the legal owner of a work shall be also entitled to copyright protection. The legal owner of a work may be one of the following:

(i)   The author or co-authors of the work;

(ii)  Organizations and individuals who assign tasks to authors or who enter into contracts with authors;

(iii)  A heir of the authors;

(iv)  The assignee of rights over the works; or

(v)  The State, in certain cases.

In accordance with Vietnamese IP Law, the author and copyright owners are defined as (i) Vietnamese organizations and individuals; (ii) foreign organizations and individuals whose works to be protected were first published in Vietnam and not yet published in any other country, or whose works were published in Vietnam within thirty days from the date of the first publication in another country; and (iii) foreign organizations and individuals whose works have been protected in Vietnam in accordance with an international treaty on copyrights to which Vietnam is a member.

4. Property Rights and Personal Right of Copyright Owners and/or Authors

An author and/or copyright owner shall be entitled to certain property rights and personal rights, particularly as follows:

Personal rights include (i) to name the work; (ii) to have real names or pen names put on the work or have real names or pen names cited when the work is published or used; (iii) to publish the work, or permit others to do so; (iv) to protect the integrity of the work, to allow or not allow other persons to alter, garble or distort the contents of the work by any means that prejudice against author’s honor and prestige.

Property rights include (i) to make the derivative works; (ii) to display the works to the public; (iii) to reproduce the works; (iv) to distribute or import the originals and copies of the works; (v) to disseminate the works to the public via radio, television, internet or by any other technical means; and (vi) to lease the original or copies of a cinematographic works or computer programs. Any individual/organization who wishes to exploit or use one, several or all of property rights and rights of publication of work have obligation to ask for permission from the copyright owners and pay royalties, remuneration and other material benefits.

5. Term of Protection

In general, copyright is protected during the lifetime of the author and further fifty years after his/her death. In case of works is under joint ownership, the term of copyright protection finishes at 50th year after the death of last co-author.

For cinematographic works   photographic works and anonymous works, the term of copyright protection is now 75 years (previously 50 years) from the first publication. For cinematographic works, photographic works and applied art works not published within 25 years from the fixation date protection lasts for 100 years from the fixation date of the work.

Some personal rights such as the rights to name the work, to have the author’s name put on the work and the right to protect the integrity of the work shall last indefinitely.

6. Copyright Protection

Different from trademarks, industrial designs or patents, copyrights are manifested once the copyrightable work is created and copyrights that are granted within treaty countries are immediately applicable to all other treaty countries. However, persons may still voluntarily apply for a copyright certificate in Vietnam. Detailed application instructions and application materials may be found at the Copyright Office within the Ministry of Culture and Information.

7. Assignment and Licensing of Copyright

An author or copyright holder of a work can transfer all or any of the property rights and the right to publish the work, or given written permission to others to do so with the work to another person or to license another person to use such copyrights or related rights.

In case a work is under joint ownership, the licensing of copyright or related rights therein must be agreed upon by all co-owners. If a work is composed of separate parts that have been separately created by different authors or owned by different copyright/related right holders, such authors or copyright/related right holders may license their copyrights or related rights with respect to their separate parts to other legal entities or individuals.

* Agreement for Assignment/ Licensing of Copyrighted Works

An agreement for the assignment of copyright or related rights must be made in writing and include provisions prescribed as follows: the names and addresses of the assignor/licensor and the assignee/licensee; the basis for the assignment/license; the scope of the license; the price and method of payment; the rights and obligations of the parties; and the liability for contractual breach.

Agreement for assignment/licensing are not required to get registered to be legally effective.

However, personal rights are not able to be assigned/licensed, except the right of publication of the work.

8. Enforcement

Copyright infringement entails using, reproducing, reprinting, importing, exporting, selling, publishing, disseminating, or otherwise exploiting a copyrighted work without prior permission from the author or the copyright owner and/or without appropriate remuneration through royalties or other financial duties to either the author or legal owner of the copyright.

In connection to use of published works, it is regulated that broadcasting organizations using published works for the purpose of carrying out broadcasting programs with sponsorship, advertisements or collection of money in any form will not be liable for obtaining permission from the copyright owner but have to pay royalties or remunerations to them in accordance with the Government regulations.

* Non-infringing use

Act of using a published copyright work for “non-commercial purposes” without the permission of the author and without paying royalties or other material benefit provided that such use does not adversely affect the normal exploitation of the work and does not cause any detriment to the author’s enjoyment of copyright in the work. However, the author’s name and the origin of the work must be mentioned.