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1. What are protectable works under the copyright law in Vietnam?

Under Article 14 of IP Law, two types of works which are subject matters for copyright protection are (1) Literary, artistic and scientific works; and (2) derivative works.

Literary, artistic and scientific works include the following:

(i)               Literary work, scientific works, schoolbooks and teaching materials and other works presented in writing or in other characters;

(ii)             Lectures and speeches;

(iii)            Press works;

(iv)            Musical works;

(v)              Theatrical works;

(vi)            Cinematographic works and other works produced by the same method;

(vii)           Sculptural works and applied fine arts;

(viii)         Photographic works;

(ix)           Achitectural works;

(x)             Sketches, diagrams, maps and drawings relating to topography and scientific projects;

(xi)           Folkloric works;

(xii)          Computer programs and data collection.

Derivative works include works of translation, adaptation, re-creations, arrangement, compilation, annotation, selection and other alteration» from the original works.

2. Does Vietnam protect foreign works?

Yes. Foreign works are eligible for copyright protection in Vietnam if they are (i) published for the first time in Vietnam but not in any other countries, or published simultaneously in Vietnam within 30 days from the first publication in other country; or (ii) protected under international conventions of which Vietnam is a member.

Currently, Vietnam is member of the Bern Convention for the protection of litterary and artistic works; Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms; and Brussels Convention relating to the distribution of encrypted program-carrying satellite signals.

3. What rights are conferred from copyright protection?

Under the current IP Law of Vietnam, copyright grants personality rights and property rights to the owner.

The personality (or moral) rights under the IP Law includes (i) giving the name to the works; (ii) placing author’s name or pseudonyms on the works; (iii) publishing the works by himself or authorising others to publish the works; and (iv) protecting the integrity of the works from any alteration or distortion that may cause to the author’s honour and goodwill.

Property (or economic) rights are “exclusive rights” which include: (i) making derivative works; (ii) public performance of protected works; (iii) reproducing protected works; (iv) distributing and importing original protected works or their copies; (v) transmiting protected works by radio, television, internet or by any other technical means; and (vi) leasing original or copy of cinematographic works or computer programs.

4. Is there a requirement of registration to obtain copyright protection?

No. Registration of the copyright is not required to obtain protection, but it is a prima facie evidence of ownership.

5. Who is the owner of the copyright?

According to the IP Law, copyright owner is the author i.e. person who has created the works or (i) co-authors; (ii) individuals or organisations who have assigned a task to or signed a contract with the author; (iii) heirs; (iv) the State (in some specific cases).

6. How long does a copyright last?

According to 27 of the effective IP law of Vietnam, term of copyright protection in Vietnam is as follows:

  1. The moral rights provided for in Clauses 1, 2 and 4, Article 19 of this Law (the Right to title the works; the Right to attach real names or pseudonyms to the works; to have real names or pseudonyms acknowledged when the works are published or used; the Right to protect the integrity of their works, and to prevent other persons from modifying, mutilating or distorting their works in whatever form prejudicial to their honor and reputation) shall be protected for an indefinite term.
  2. The moral rights provided for in Clause 3, Article 19 (the Right to publish the works or authorize other persons to publish their works and the economic rights provided for in Article 20 of this Law enjoy the following term of protection:

a/ Cinematographic works, photographic works, works of applied art and anonymous works have a term of protection of seventy five years from the date of first publication. For cinematographic works, photographic works and works of applied art which remain unpublished within twenty five years from the date of fixation, the term of protection is one hundred years from the date of fixation. For anonymous works, when information on their authors is published, the term of protection will be calculated under Point b of this Clause.

b/ A work not specified at Point a of this Clause is protected for the whole life of the author and for fifty years after his/her death. For a work under joint authorship, the term of protection expires in the fiftieth year after the death of the last surviving co-author;

c/ The term of protection specified at Points a and b of this Clause expires at 24:00 hrs of December 31 of the year of expiration of the copyright protection term.”

7. Are there limitations on copyright protection?

The use of copyrighted works without the owner’s permission are not considered as copyright infringement in cases defined by the IP Law. Such use may require the payment of royalties or not, but must not adversely affect the normal exploitation of the copyrighted work or prejudice the owner’s legitimate rights. Moreover, the author’s name and original work should be cited.

According to Article 24 of the IP Law, the following acts which constitute use of a copyrighted work without the owner’s permission and without payment of royalty are not considered as copyright infringement: (i) reproduction in one single copy for educational, research, citation or information purposes; (ii) non-profit public performance for propaganda purpose; (iii) transcribe in Braille; and (iv) import of copies for personal use. Nevertheless, such limitation is not applied to architectural and sculptural works and computer programs.

Broadcasting organisations can broadcast copyrighted works that have been published without the owner’s permission but have to pay remuneration and roylties to the copyright owner. This provision is however not applied to cinematographic and assimilated works.

8. What are remedies for copyright infringement?

Different remedies are available when a copyright is infringed including administrative, civil and criminal proceedings (For details see IP Enforcement).