CAN THO CITY DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Are songs translated from foreign languages copyrighted?
Recently, the singers translating and re-singing foreign songs in Vietnamese is becoming more and more popular. Therefore, if the original song is copyrighted, will the Vietnamese translation be copyrighted?

According to point d, clause 1, Article 14 of the 2005 Intellectual Property Law, as amended and supplemented in 2009, musical works are one of the types of protected copyrights. Thus, a song copyright is a copyright to a musical work.

Article 10 of Decree No.22/2018/ND-CP regulates musical works, as follows:

“A musical work specified at Point d, Clause 1, Article 14 of the Intellectual Property Law means a work expressed in the form of musical notes or other musical characters with or without lyrics, regardless of performing or not performing.”

When did the copyright to the song arise?

Copyright in a musical work arises when the work is created and expressed in a certain material form, and is not required to be registered or published (according to Clause 1, Article 6 of the Intellectual Property Law 2005).

However, in order to avoid disputes and prove that the song belongs to their ownership, the author and owner should carry out procedures to apply for a copyright registration certificate for the song. Without registration, this proof is very difficult, affecting the rights and interests of the author and owner with the song.

Are songs translated from foreign languages protected?

A song translation is a translation into another language based on the original language of the song. Accordingly, song translation is considered a kind of derivative work.

Clause 8, Article 4 of the 2005 Intellectual Property Law stipulates: Derivative works are works translated from one language into another,  adapted, compiled, annotated or selected works.

Meanwhile, according to Clause 2, Article 14 of the Intellectual Property Law, it stipulates: "A derivative work shall only be protected under the provisions of Clause 1 of this Article if it does not prejudice the copyright of the work used for making derivative works."

According to Article 18 of the Intellectual Property Law, copyright includes moral rights and property rights. Thus, a song translation that wants to be protected by copyright must not harm the moral and property rights of the original song.

Besides, Clause 7, Article 28 of the Law on Intellectual Property 2005 stipulates that one of the acts of copyright infringement is:

Making a derivative work without the permission of the author or the copyright owner to the work used to make the derivative work, except for the case specified at Point i, Clause 1, Article 25 of this Law.

(Point i, Clause 1, Article 25 stipulates: Translating works into Braille or other languages for the blind).

Thus, if foreign songs are translated into Vietnamese, it is possible to be copyrighted with the consent of the author who owns the original song.

ctngoc

Intellectual Property and Innovation Magazine
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