Malta Copyright Protection

Malta Copyright Protection

Malta Intellectual Property Protection

Intellectual Property is the product of a notion which would have developed with time and work into an idea. The latter needs to be original, unique and potentially very valuable. These constructions of the human mind are bestowed official and special protection through statutory rights that are conferred unto the creators. The two broad categories of Intellectual Property are Industrial Property (which includes trademarks, patents and designs) and Copyright.

Malta is a member of the following international agreements, conventions and treaties:

  • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1964)
  • Paris Convention for the Protection of IP (1967)
  • Universal Copyright Convention (1968)
  • WIPO Agreement (1977)
  • WTO TRIPS Agreement (1995)
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (2007)
  • European Patent Convention (2007)
  • Accession to the WCT & WPPT (expected 2008)
  • Accession to the Madrid Protocol (expected 2009)

Malta Copyright Protection

Malta is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), hence having its copyright laws in line with TRIPs (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). Moreover, before Malta's accession to the EU, Malta carried out an exercise of aligning all its intellectual property legislation with the EU’s acquis communitaire and the EU’s legislative measures in this field mainly related to copyright in advanced technological aspects such as computer programs, databases and satellite broadcasting. Copyright Protection is covered by Cap 415 of the Laws of Malta and extends to artistic, audio-visual, literary, musical works and databases.

Literary works

The Maltese Copyright Act provides that the term “literary work” shall include, any of the following, or works similar thereto:

  • novels, stories and poetical works;
  • plays, stage directions, choreographic works or entertainment in dumb show, film scenarios and broadcasting script;
  • textbooks, treatises, histories, biographies, essays and articles;
  • encyclopaedias and dictionaries;
  • letters, reports and memoranda;
  • lectures, addresses and sermons;
  • computer programmes.

It is important to note that this protection is offered irrespective of the literary quality of the work.

Musical works

The law provides that the term “musical work” shall refer to any musical work, irrespective of musical quality, and includes works composed for musical accompaniment. Under this category, one also finds song lyrics which qualify as literary works.

Artistic works

Irrespective of artistic quality, this term includes the following:

  • paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, engravings and prints;
  • maps, plans, diagrams and three-dimensional works relative to geography, science or topography, but excluding semiconductor product topographies;
  • works of sculpture (including the cast or mould);
  • photographs not comprised in an audio-visual work;
  • works of architecture in the form of buildings or models; and
  • works of artistic craftsmanship, including pictorial woven tissues and articles of applied handicraft and industrial art.

Eligibility for Malta Copyright Protection

A work will only be eligible for copyright if it satisfies three criteria, namely – qualification, originality and fixation.


Copyright is granted to an eligible work automatically. Therefore there is no need for registration under Maltese law as the law provides that protection is granted ipso jure upon creation of the work. This protection is obviously limited by territoriality. The main connecting factors would be domicile or citizenship of the creation.

However, there is definitely an issue with proving the ‘date’ when the artistic work was created and be able to use this ‘date’ against any infringing third parties who claim that the work / or a similar creation, is theirs rather than the original author’s. Since there is no system of formal registration at a public registry, one would need to establish the most formal procedure possible to freeze the date when the work was created. Our firm has assisted various artists and authors in establishing the best procedure for their case. Copyright formalisation can provide protection of your work from infringement and misuse, and ensures the rightholder always has the best evidence to protect his work and rights.

Malta Copyright Protection Services

We represent corporate and personal clients in matters related to copyright protection & neighbouring rights, by identifying and addressing issues, structuring the best procedure to obtain maximum protection and hence avoid or minimize the risk of copyright infringement. We also represent clients in court litigation, negotiation, and out of court settlements related to all aspects of copyright.

Our services include:

  • addressing copyright ownership in commercial contracts
  • addressing breaches of licensed use
  • advise on appropriate action in litigation & infringements
  • framing copyright licences for special projects and joint ventures
  • structuring of best methods of protection in copyright matters
  • advice and assistance including litigation in relation to copyright
  • assistance with copyright protection in other EU member states as well as Third Countries

Contact Us
Please send me legal and other updates
Related Industry Groups
Related Practice Groups
Related Services