Copyright protects music, film, literature and other creations, such as sculptures, furniture, lamps and building art.
The source code of a computer program is also protected by copyright. In order to be granted copyright, the work must meet the threshold of originality, i.e. what you created must have a certain degree of originality. In Sweden, it is not possible to apply for copyright protection, as the rights are triggered automatically when a work is created. In Sweden, copyright applies for a period of 70 years after the death of the author.
Within copyright law, a distinction is made between economic and moral rights.
The holder of economic rights to a work is the one who decides whether and, if so how, the work may be used and disseminated, e.g. whether a song can be used in an advertising film, a novel can be published as part of a collection of novels, or a photo can be used for a poster. The economic rights always accrue to the person or people who created a work, but they can be transferred to someone else through an agreement, e.g. a book publishing company, a photographic agency, the company which employs the copyright holder or STIM (the Swedish Performing Rights Society) or a record company if the person who owns the copyright is a musician.
Moral rights means that the author has the right to be named if a work is used - anyone who quotes from a book must state the name of the author. There must also be respect for the work; you must not alter it or insult the author.
Even if the protection for a work which is covered by copyright arises without any formal procedure being followed, i.e. without any requirement for registration, enforcing the protection can be a complicated process. Copyright law contains many exceptions and limitations. Within working life, the right to a copyright-protected work is also regulated by other legislation and many agreements. It is therefore a good idea to seek advice from your industry organisation, for example, before doing any deals which could be affected by copyright.
Test your business
In the test, we will help you identify your intangible assets: