Modern Copyright Law, copyright and rights of translator

Copyright Law, copyright and translator
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What is Copyright Law?

What is Copyright Law?

Do you know about relations between copyright law, copyright, and rights of a translator? This post introduces it to you.

Copyright protection is an actual task for any country. The development of technology has led to an increase in the use of an intellectual property. Intellectual property rights play a vital role. For example, they affect the efficiency of national innovation. Besides, intellectual property rights are one of the reasons for businesses to invest in innovation. After all, copyright law is a set of exclusive rights to authors. For the economy, copyright is an integral part of intellectual property. So, the way to protect your copyright is Copyright Law. Also, a translator as a party of intercultural business exchange plays a significant role of protection your copyright according to copyright law.

Specific features of Copyright Law in the USA

The Copyright Law of the USA protects “original works of authorship”. It is a legal definition used by state authorities. For example, you may find it in Syllabus №18-1150 of the Supreme Court of the USA. You also can find it in the Code of the Laws of the USA [17 U. S. C. §102(a)].

How does the protection of copyright law work? Let’s say a few words about this.

As a primary basis of the legal system, the U.S. Constitution protects copyright. For instance, in Article I, Section 8 states that “Congress shall have the power…To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”.

Then, the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress is responsible for overseeing the administrative functions of the copyright. Congress enacts copyright laws. And finally, the Federal courts interpret and enforce copyright law.

What does it mean? For instance, if you wrote a novel, you could publish and sell. So, the law protects your exclusive rights as an author. To protect your proprietary rights, they should be registered.

Currently, the appropriate state authority for this is the U.S. Copyright Office. Also, the Copyright Office records copyright transfers and relevant aspects of copyright law. The last amendments enacted by Congress through March 27, 2020.

Now, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides reliable protection for intellectual property. It protects against illegal production and distribution of I.P. objects, as well as against technologies that bypass modern technical means of copyright protection.

Copyright Law, copyright and translator
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Intellectual property…

Specific features of Copyright Law in Russia

Now, let’s share some information about the Copyright Law of Russia. The state authorities of the Russian Empire had prepared a first copyright statute in 1828. Now, Russia is a civil law country.

Sources of copyright litigation in Russia

The primary sources of copyright litigation include:

1. Part IV of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation;
2. Code of Arbitrazh Procedure of the Russian Federation and Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation (Arbitrazh Code and Civil Procedure Code);
3. Federal Law No. 149-FZ on Information, Information Technologies, and Information Protection (Law on Information).
4. Court practice.
5. International treaties.

New Civil Code of the Russian Federation as a source of copyright litigation

In 1993, a new Copyright Law of Russia entered in force. In 2006, the copyright law was added to the Civil Code of Russia. The Intellectual Property Law was last amended at the end of 2015. The Russian government regulates copyright law in Russia. Russia has the Court for Intellectual Property Rights (I.P. Court). Jurisdiction of the I.P. Court is intellectual property infringements. This court acts as the first instance. Besides, the I.P. Court is an appellate court of justice in IP-related cases.

Part IV of the Civil Code was comprehensive intellectual property legislation. The Civil Code has information about copyright law. It is chapter 70 (authors’ rights), 71 (neighboring rights). The general provisions of the copyright law contained in chapter 69. Other chapters contain information about:

Patent law,
The protection of breeders’ rights,
Of integrated circuits, trade secrets,
Of trademarks, brands, and geographical indications.

Certainly, all human translations are subject to copyright. The exclusive right to translation belongs to the translator who completed it. You can find it in Articles 1228, 1229, 1259 and 1260 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation. Thus, a translator has the right to reproduce, distribute, copy the translated document.

Differences between Copyright Law in the USA and Russia

The United States is a country that pays attention to intellectual property. Thanks to its creative and scientific activities, this country has become a leader in the world economy. The largest share of income from exports to the U.S. is the sale of I.P. To prove it, let’s see the following tables.

High technology exports in the USA, Russia, and in Germany

For example, the high technology export of the USA is around 7% of the total export value in 2018. Based on the data, the high technology export of Russia is 2% of the total export value and 11% for Germany in 2018. Certainly, there is a strong relationship between the value of high technology export, the amount of trademark and patent applications, and the development of Copyright law.

Patent applications and trademark applications in the USA, Russia, and in Germany

The infringement of authors’ interests entails administrative liability. However, in the United States, the copying of I.P. is allowed. In Russia, the law suppresses it. While protecting copyright, a scientific and cultural exchange should be free. Meanwhile, comparing the Copyright Law in Russia and the USA, there is a significant difference. For instance, that is a different way of registration of I.P.

Copyright Law and registration of copyright in Russia. Translator
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Registration of copyright in Russia

Registration of copyright

The U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress registers the copyright. Any natural person or incorporated person may register his copyright in the United States for objects of copyright. The author can only be an individual, and the copyright holder can be both an individual and a legal entity. The term of protection of property rights is given for the whole duration of life of the author and 70 years after his death. For objects of copyright created under a pseudonym or by hire, it is 95 years from the date of the first publication, but no more than 120 years from the date of creation.

By the current legislation of Russia, copyright arises at the time of the creation of the work and is not subject to compulsory registration. Also, Russia does not have a state body that registers and maintains a register of copyright. An exception is Rospatent, which issues certificates for computer programs (source code – copyright work). The registration of copyright is optional and may serve as a confirmation of copyright in case of a dispute.

Copyright and translator

The situation relating to copyright are challenging for translators. During contacting for a job, translators negotiate with publishers. Certainly, it leads to difficult choices for translators. Put it simply, and it is to push for royalties or to lose the contract.

According to Copyright Law, translation is a derivative work. It can vary from country to country. Anyway, translation is still considered derivative. The reason is simple: translation exists to original work. So, you can again register your translation for copyright as an original work.

During translating a specific document, the translator is automatically granted all intellectual rights to translated texts. In turn, it means that a translator does not need to register the copyright individually. And a legal relationship arises from the moment when a translation is first used by the translator or by someone else. A translator can transfer the copyright to his translation.

Exclusive rights of a translator

The transfer of exclusive rights is suitable for translators who do not plan to use their translated work. In this case, a translator will have only personal non-proprietary rights to the translation. The license agreement allows a translator to use the translated material. A license can be exclusive and non-exclusive. The first one is issued only once. And the second one can be given to more than one person.

If an in-house translator does a translation, the situation is different. In this case, a company can follow Article 1295 of the Civil Code. According to this article, an in-house translator has the copyright for his translations. However, a company owns the exclusive rights of translated documents. A contract between translator and company may mention other conditions.

You can imagine, a translator makes considerable creative efforts to complete a good translation. As a result, the translator has the right to register his translation. At the same time, you need to get official permission from the author who owns the copyright of the work. You can talk about it before signing up a contract with a publisher (an author).

A translator has the right to receive a part of the royalties. For instance, a translator can expect to get 1-3% of the royalties. You also need to remember other parts of royalties if a book was published worldwide. So, if your contract is limited to one country sales, and a publisher sells translated book in another country, you are losing an opportunity to earn more from sales in other places.

If you have some questions about legal translation, please feel free and contact Aleksandr.