Copyright refers to all the rights granted to creators for their literary or artistic works upon creation.
Authors of works do not need to carry out any registration formalities.
They simply must be able to prove the date of creation of their work.
Who is concerned
All creators of works are automatically protected by copyright.
To be protected by copyright, the work (any work of literary, scientific or artistic nature, including computer programmes and databases) must:
have sufficient original character;
have taken concrete shape (which excludes ideas or concepts).
How to proceed
Automatic protection of the work
No formal registration is required to obtain protection by copyright. Copyright starts with the simple creation of the work. Creators thereby automatically gain rights over their works allowing them to control their subsequent use by third parties.
The protection is valid throughout the creator's life plus another 70 years from his death, thereby benefitting his heirs and beneficiaries. The holder of the rights may choose to transfer all or a part of this rights, for example by granting a license to use his work.
Proof of the date of creation
Proof of the date of creation of the work may be provided by any means necessary, especially:
an i-dépôt (either directly online by payment of a EUR 35 fee or by i-dépôt envelope) submitted to the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property is a reliable tool to prove the date of the creation of a work in all the Benelux countries for 5 years;
by leaving a copy of the work with a recognised agent, i.e. a bank or a notary, in order to have the time and date of deposit of the work registered;
by sending the work to oneself by post, leaving the envelope unopened upon receipt. The postal date stamp on the envelope is valid proof for the time of creation of the work.
Further information is available on The Luxembourg Portal for Innovation and Research under Copyright (Droits d'auteur).