- What is Copyright?
Italian law n.633 passed on April 22nd, 1941 establishes the protection of intellectual works that belong to literature, music, visual arts, architecture, theater and cinema fields. Copyright protection is the protection of exclusive rights concerning the exploitation of works (economic rights of the author) and moral rights, for the protection of the author’s personality.
- What are moral rights?
Moral rights are ensured by law to protect the author’s personality and are preserved even after the assignment of the economic rights. Moral rights are not subject to legal terms of protection.
The most important moral rights are:
Paternity of the work (i.e. the right to claim one’s own status as author);
Integrity of the work (i.e. the possibility to oppose any change that might damage the author’s reputation);
Publishing right (the possibility to decide whether to publish the work or not).
- What are economic use rights?
The most important economic use rights are:
All these rights allow the author to grant or deny authorization for the use of his work and economically benefit from it.
Reproduction right: i.e. the right to reproduce an unlimited number of copies in any way;
Performance, recitation, or public reading right: i.e. the right to present the work to the public in all the above-mentioned forms;
Communication to the public right: i.e. the right to diffuse the work through radio, television, satellite, cable, Internet, etc.;
Distribution right: i.e. the right to sell the work;
Adaptation right: i.e. the right to change the original work, modify it, adapt it, etc.
When is copyright obtained? Are there any procedures to follow?
There are no procedures to be followed in order to obtain the recognition of copyright. Copyright stems directly from the creation of the work.
Who is the rightowner?
Originally the rightowner coincides with the author (or, in case of a collaboration, with the co-authors).
How long does the economic protection of the work last?
Economic rights can be bought, alienated, or transmitted to others in all ways allowed by law.
The right of economic exploitation of the work lasts throughout the author’s life and until 70 years after his death.
At the end of this period the work becomes of public domain. In case of collaborations, the work becomes of public domain
when 70 years have elapsed since the death of the last co-author.
Can a work of public domain be freely used?
Yes, a work of public domain can be freely used without asking any authorization or paying any royalty. This is valid unless using a protected adaptation of the work itself.
What activity does SIAE perform in the sphere of copyright?
SIAE’s institutional function is to act as an intermediary for the management of copyright. SIAE therefore
grants licenses for the use of protected works, collects royalties and distributes them to rightowners.
It carries out its activities both in Italy (through its offices) and abroad (through the foreign societies of authors with
which it has signed representation agreements).
Is membership to SIAE mandatory?
No, membership to SIAE is not mandatory, it is a free choice. The author can theoretically manage his relationships with the users and protect his rights directly, but the intermediary and networking services offered by a specialized organization are both useful and necessary.
Once the author has registered to SIAE, does he always need to use its services?
In Italy this intermediary activity is reserved by law to SIAE on an exclusive basis. The author however can choose to become member of other foreign society of authors.
By becoming a SIAE’s member, the author empowers it to act as an intermediary for all uses of works entrusted to its
protection. If addressed in person, he must refer all requests of license granting to the Society. The author cannot grant
licenses directly, renounce his rights or agree royalties rebates. All this is in the author’s interest as collective
management of rights is a guarantee towards users, who are ensured a transparent treatment and equal conditions.
What are “neighbouring rights”?
Neighbouring rights are that those recognized by law not to the author of the work but to those subjects connected to it (please refer to Title II of Italian copyright law 633/1941) . The most important neighbouring rights are those recognized to performers, phonographic producers, producers of cinematographic or audio-visual works, and to radio and television broadcasting companies.
Other neighbouring rights with a much more feeble protection than that reserved to copyright, are those recognized to the authors (or publishers) in connection with those works that do not properly represent "intellectual works". This is the case of photographs, sketches of theatrical scenery, critical editions of works of public domain, unpublished works published after copyright has expired, etc.