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Learn more about Copyright Registration in Malaysia

In Malaysia, unlike trademarks, drawings, and patents, there is no formal method for registering copyright. Copyright occurs as soon as the original work is created and automatically belongs to the creator of the work. Copyright safeguards creative works created by authors, producers, photographers, singers, composers, painters, sculptors, and others in the creative industries. Many Malaysian company owners might benefit from understanding the issues of copyright registration in Malaysia, copyright protection in Malaysia, and which goods can be protected by copyright.

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What is Copyright in Malaysia?

The Copyright Act 1987 is the Intellectual Property legislation that oversees copyright protection in Malaysia. This Act protects the copyright of any qualifying individual or corporation. There is no fee or registration necessary to obtain this type of intellectual property protection for any qualifying written work.

Authored works that meet four requirements are eligible for copyright protection in Malaysia. They must be original, have been reduced to material form, belong to a category of protected works, and meet the copyright requirements. Copyright may exist in a work through a reference to the author’s status or the publishing or production of the work. Copyright may also exist in works created by or directed by the Malaysian government or certain foreign organizations.

How to register a Copyright?

Malaysia is one of the nations that has a system for recording copyrighted works. Although it is not required, recording Copyright provides further protection by identifying and differentiating tiles and determining ownership of works.

The recording of copyrighted works can also be used as prima facie evidence in a court of law in relation to copyright issues. Furthermore, in addition to the damages sought for infringement, copyright registration guarantees the owner Statutory Damages as well as the entitlement to legal costs and attorney fees.

Regardless of nationality, the following documents are required:

➤ Material reproduction of the works
➤ A copy of the corresponding firm incorporation forms if the applicant is a company, or a copy of ID if the applicant is an individual
➤ A copy of the Author's ID card or passport

What are the different types of Copyright?

There are four key aspects of copyrights that must be protected during the author’s life:

➤ Literature Work
➤ Music Work
➤ Dramatic Performance
➤ Art Work

What can copyright preserve and protect?

Special intangible rights are connected to books (conventional or digital), screenplays, music, images, films, source codes for software, manuals/guidebooks, academic journals, and other types of creative works or materials. These “copyrights” are controlled by the persons who create the work – authors, producers, photographers, musicians, composers, artists, and so on – who may do anything they want with their exclusive rights.

Copyright safeguards the expression of the author’s artistic and literary works, as well as the exclusive right to make derivative works, perform, and show the work.

What is the duration of a Copyright?

Works of Literature, Music, or Art

In general, this kind of copyright work refers to human beings who will exist throughout the author’s lifetime plus 50 years after his death.

Performer, Film, and Sound Recordings

This category of copyright work should be valid for 50 years from the date of publication, as set in a fixation for film and sound recording. The copyright work of a performer should exist from the performance or fixation in a sound recording.


For the copyright in broadcasts, whether transmitted by wire or wireless methods, a term of fifty years should be computed from the day the broadcasts were first made.

What are the effects of Copyright registration?

1. Legal Protection

The copyright law grants the author, copyright owner, and performer the exclusive right to govern. The legal rights granted to them include the ability to pursue their copyrighted works in situations of infringement by civil or criminal action. Criminal prosecution is handled by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs or the Royal Malaysian Police.

2. Economic Rights

Economic rights granted to right holders include reproduction rights, public communication rights, public performance, displaying, or playing rights, distribution rights, and commercial leasing rights. This right can be utilized within the period of protection provided by the Copyright Act of 1987. Economic rights enable the owner of the rights to profit financially from the use of his works by the user or for commercial reasons. Economic rights can be transferred by assignment, licensing, or testamentary disposal.

3. Moral Dignity

➤ Paternity Rights: This right permits the author to assert ownership of his or her creation's originality.
➤ Integrity Rights: This right allows the author to prohibit users from distorting, mutilating, or otherwise modifying his or her works in a way that materially alters the original work and harms the author's honor or reputation.

Does Copyright protect internationally?

Because Malaysia is a signatory to the Berne Convention, any copyrighted work generated in Malaysia would be recognized by all Berne Convention contracting member countries.
It implies that works made in Malaysia are eligible for copyright not just in Malaysia, but also in other Berne Convention member nations such as the European Union, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, and Korea.

What are the Copyright Infringements?

Anyone who uses any copyrighted works without the approval or license of the author, copyright owner, or performer may be committing an infringement under the Copyright Act of 1987. Among the infringing acts are:

➤ Reproduces in any material form, performs, shows or plays or distributes to the public
➤ Imports any article into Malaysia for the purpose of trade or financial gain
➤ Makes for sale or rent any infringing copy
➤ Sells, rents or by way of trade, exposes or offers for sale or rent any infringing copy
➤ Distributes infringing copies
➤ Possesses, other than for his private and domestic use, any infringing copy
➤ Exhibits in public any infringing copy by way of

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