Registration Of Copyright – Not As Easy As You May Think

Registration Of Copyright – Not As Easy As You May Think

The awareness of the importance of intellectual properties in all areas of social life is increasing rapidly; as a result, organizations, and individuals pay more attention to establishing ownership towards the intellectual properties they created and owned. As a corollary, the registration applications of intellectual property rights at the competent state authorities also increase day by day, not only for industrial property objects (such as trademark,  industrial design, patent, etc.) but also copyright and related rights objects (such as music works, books, audio and video records, etc.).

Regarding the objects of industrial property rights such as trademarks, patents, or industrial designs, we can understand registration application increases rapidly can come from the critical connection of these objects to the business activities, and it is compulsory to register these objects to gained to protection in accordance with the law. However, to the copyright, which is automatically recognized from the time of being fixed in a specific material form according to the regulations of Vietnamese law and the International conventions on copyright to which Vietnam is a member, (Article 6 of Vietnam’s Intellectual Property Law and Article 2 of the Berne Convention on the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works), whether the registration of copyright, related rights increases rapidly is a strange thing?

As mentioned above, the awareness of society about intellectual property rights in common, and copyright, in particular, is increasing day by day, leading to more disputes. In typical civil disputes, the claimant is obliged to present evidence to prove his/her request; while under the law on intellectual property, organizations and individuals who have been granted Certificate of copyright registration, will not have to prove their ownership of the copyright and related rights, unless there is contrary evidence. This right will bring a great advantage to the author/ counterfeit /owner of work when there are arising disputes. Besides, obtaining a certificate from the Copyright Office, the owner can also make it easier to use his intellectual property. For example, if the copyright owner of a book wants to use the intellectual property right of that book to contribute as capital to establish a company when carrying out the business registration procedures at the Department of Planning and Investment, the Department will require such person to provide the Certificate of copyright registration before allowing them to contribute capital.

There are many benefits to register copyrights/ related rights; besides, guidelines on procedures and documents for copyright and related rights registration are also detailed on the website. Department of Copyright at , which encourages and creates a lot of favorable conditions for people in the process of identifying up their copyright. The regulations on registering copyright in black and white papers are so simple, but in actual, there are still a lot of inadequacies and difficulties, these following are some typical issues which the writer encountered:

The first, according to the regulations of the law, the time for Copyright Department to assess a registration application is within 15 working days from the date of receiving the full and valid dossier. However, as a general situation, the copyright registration dossiers for simple works such as applied artworks, written works, photography works, etc. must also take more than one month, or even more than two months, for the those submitted at the representative office in Ho Chi Minh City. This prolonging is probably partly due to the increasing number of copyright applications filed over the years, for example, from January 1, 2019, to December 12, 2019, the Copyright Office has accepted and granted 7932 certificates of copyright and related rights registration (increased 21.25% compared to the same period in 2018).

The second is about the name and content of the work registered for protection: Organizations and individuals that register copyright for applied artworks should note to remove the word “banner” or “slogan” in the name of the work, because in the last 2 to 3 years, the Copyright Office usually refuse the registered works containing the above terms because the copyright protection does not protect “Slogan.”

The third is about the record proving ownership when registering the works that have been revealed. Copyright protects the origin of the work, which means the author has to create the work himself, not copy from any existed works. Therefore, if in the process of examining application, the officer finds any the published work which is the same as the registered work, and has been used at any channel (that the officer can find), in the name of any other person, the application will be rejected if the applicant fails to explain and provide reasonable evidence.

The fourth, currently, the types of literary, artistic and scientific works that are protected by copyright are interpreted with only 12 types according to the provisions of the Intellectual Property Law, so for works not categorized into these 12 types or can not classify into any types of work, how will it be handled? I used to make a copyright application for a yacht builder’s catalog, which included both actual boat photos, design images, graphics, and each photo indicates the specifications of those products. The application was submitted from April 2019 but has just done in mid-January 2020 since the officer does not agree to issue the copyright certificate because the work does not belong to any of the listed types in Article 14 of the Intellectual Property Law. But after nine months, the work was finally granted a copyright certificate for artwork, though still a bit limping.

The fifth, it is about searching channels for copyrighted records. Currently, works that have been granted copyright certificates can only be searched on the directory search section on website of the copyright office, compared to the search channel of industrial property, this searching resource is indeed too “simple,” and the amount of updated information is still not enough to meet the demand of information.

Over the last few years, with the raising disputes over famous works such as “Thần Đồng Đất Việt” comic, the “Ngày Xưa” play or the disputes on the television transmission right of AFF cup…, the copyright issue also gains more public attention, the registration of works has also become a more urgent issue for authors and investors to create works. Although, the above-mentioned issues are the problems that the writer encounters in the process of filing copyright registration application in reality, but are only minority issues, or can be amended. The more important thing for every author, every investor to note when creating intellectual property works, is to keep in mind to protect their spiritual children with all eligible tools allowed by law from the beginning, don’t lock the stable after the horse is stolen.


If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact Apolat Legal – An International Law Firm in Viet Nam.

This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Send Contact
Call Us
This site is registered on as a development site.