Copyrights are defined as the rights of organizations, individuals to works created or owned by them. The works which can enjoy copyright protection include the following:

  • Literary and scientific works, textbooks, teaching materials, and other works expressed in forms of letters or other writing characters;
  • Lectures, presentations and other speeches;
  • Journalistic works;
  • Musical works;
  • Dramatic works;
  • Cinematographic works and works created by similar methods (hereinafter referred to as cinematographic works);
  • Fine art works and applied art works;
  • Photographic works;
  • Architectural works;
  • Graphics, sketches, maps, drawings relevant to topography and scientific works;
  • Folk artistic and literary works.
  • Computer programs and compilations of data
  • Derivative works

Derivative works shall only be protected if they do not infringe the copyrights in respect of the works used to make derivative works. However, only works directly created by authors, without copying from others' works are subjects of copyright protection.

The following are excluded from copyright protection:

  • Information just for the purposes of communication;
  • Legal normative documents, administrative documents, other documents in the judicial sector and the official translation thereof.
  • Processes, systems, method of operation, definitions, principles and statistics.

Copyright-related rights (hereinafter referred to as related rights) are defined as the rights of organizations, individuals to performances, phonograms, broadcasting programs, satellite signals carrying encrypted program.

The following are subject matters of related rights protection:

  • A performance falling within one of the following cases:
    • Performance of Vietnamese citizens performed in Vietnam or abroad;
    • Performance of foreigners performed in Vietnam;
    • Performance fixed on a phonogram that is protected in accordance with Article 30 of this Law;
    • Performance that has not been fixed on a phonogram but is broadcasted and such broadcast are protected in accordance with Article 31 of this Law;
    • Performance protected in accordance with international treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is party.
  • A phonogram falling within one of the following cases:
    • Phonogram of producer who is with Vietnamese nationality;
    • Phonogram of the producer protected in accordance with international treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is party.
    • A broadcast, a satellite signal carrying encrypted program falling within one of the following cases:
    • Broadcast, satellite signal carrying encrypted program of an organization with Vietnamese nationality;
    • Broadcast, satellite signal carrying encrypted program of the organization protected in accordance with international treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is party.
  • Performances, phonograms and broadcasts and satellite signals carrying encrypted program.

Performances, phonograms and broadcasts and satellite signals carrying encrypted program shall only be protected provided that they do not influence the copyrights exercise.

-Will the work be protected in other countries?

There are numerous international conventions or treaties on copyrights according to which a work entitled to copyright protection in one member country shall be automatically protected in all other member countries of those conventions or treaties. Accordingly, if your work is protected in Vietnam, it shall enjoy copyright protection in other member countries in accordance with the international conventions or treaties to which Vietnam is a member.

However, copyright protection is territorial and governed by national law, and so your work shall only enjoy copyright protection if it satisfies protection criteria regulated by national laws on copyright of the member countries where you want your work to be protected. Vietnam is currently (July 2016) a member of the following international conventions and bilateral agreements related to copyright protection:

  • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
  • Brussels Convention relating to the Distribution of Program-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite;
  • Geneva Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producer of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
  • Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
  • World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights – TRIPS
  • Vietnam - United States Copyright Agreement
  • Vietnam - Switzerland Bilateral Agreement
  • Vietnam - United States Trade Agreement

To quality for copyright protection, a work must be created directly by author’s intelligence without reproducing others’ works. Copyrights shall arise at the moment when a work is created and expressed in a certain material form regardless of its content, quality, form, means, language, whether or not it has been published or registered.

Related rights shall arise at the moment when a performance is made, a phonogram is created, a program is broadcast or a satellite signal carrying an encrypted program is fixed without prejudice to copyrights.

Registration of copyrights/related rights is not a mandatory procedure for the entitlement to the copyrights and related rights. Organizations, individuals granted a copyrights/related rights registration certificate shall not be obliged to prove their copyrights, related rights upon a dispute, except where a contrary proof is given.

Under Vietnamese law, copyrights are protected for the lifetime of the author plus fifty years after his/her death. In respect of works created by co-authors, the term of protection shall end at the 50th year after the year of death of the last surviving co-author.

As to cinematographic works, photographic works, dramatic works, applied art works, anonymous works, the term of protection shall be 75 years from their first publications. If within 25 years from the fixation, cinematographic works, photographic works and applied art works have not been published, the term of protection shall be 100 years from the fixation date of the works. When information relating to the author of an anonymous work appears, the term of protection of such work shall be the lifetime of the author plus fifty years after his/her death.

Terms of protection as mentioned above shall be ended at 24:00h on December 31 of the year when the protection term ends.

Other personal rights i.e. the rights to name the work, to have real names or pen names put on the work or have real names or pen names cited when the work is published or used, and to protect the integrity of the work, shall last indefinitely.

In accordance with Vietnamese IP Law, the author and copyright holders are defined as (i) Vietnamese organizations and individuals; (ii) foreign organizations and individuals whose works to be protected were first published in Vietnam and not yet published in any other country, or whose works were published in Vietnam within thirty days from the date of the first publication in another country; and (iii) foreign organizations and individuals whose works have been protected in Vietnam in accordance with an international treaty on copyrights to which Vietnam is a member.

An author and/or copyright owner shall be entitled to certain personal rights and property rights, as the case may be, as follows:

Personal rights include:

  • to name the work;
  • to have real names or pen names put on the work or have real names or pen names cited when the work is published or used;
  • to publish the work, or permit others to do so;
  • to protect the integrity of the work, to allow or not allow other persons to alter, garble or distort the contents of the work by any means that prejudice against author’s honor and prestige.

Property rights include:

  • to make the derivative works;
  • to display the works to the public;
  • to reproduce the works;
  • to distribute or import the originals and copies of the works;
  • to disseminate the works to the public via radio, television, internet or by any other technical means; and
  • to lease the original or copies of a cinematographic works or computer programs.

Organizations, individuals who wish to exploit or use one, several or all of property rights and rights of publication of work are obligated to ask for permission from the copyright owners and pay royalties, remuneration and other material benefits.

Assignment of copyrights / related rights is the assignment of these rights from rights owners to other organizations, individuals under a contract or under relevant legislation.

Under Vietnamese law, authors are not allowed to assign personal rights, except the right to publication; performers are not allowed to assign personal rights.

Assignment of copyrights, related rights in respect of works, performances, phonograms, broadcasting program created by co-owners must have the agreement of all co- owners; where the mentioned works consist of different parts, each of which can be used separately from others, the copyrights / related rights owner shall have the right to assign his or her copyrights, related rights over his or her part to other organizations or individuals.

A contract for copyrights/related rights assignment must be made in writing and include the following main contents:

  • Full name and address of assignor and assignee;
  • Grounds of assignment;
  • Price and mode of payment;
  • Rights and obligations of each party;
  • Obligations for breach of contract.

Licence of copyrights / related rights means owners of these rights allow other individuals or organizations to use, during a limited time, part or all of their exclusive rights.

Under Vietnamese law authors are not allowed to license personal rights, except the right to publication; performers are not allowed to license personal rights.

Licence of copyrights / related rights in respect of works, performances, phonograms or broadcasted programs created by co-authors must have the agreement of all co- authors. Where the mentioned works consist of different parts, each of which can be used separately from others, the copyrights / related rights owner shall have the right to transfer his or her use of copyrights, related rights over his part to other organizations, individuals.

Organizations or individuals that are licensees of copyrights / related rights are, by the consent of the copyrights / related rights owners, allowed to sub-license such rights to other organizations, individuals.

A contract for use of copyrights, related rights must be made in writing and comprise the following main contents:

  • Full name and address of licensor and licensee;
  • Grounds of licence;
  • Scope of the licence of the rights;
  • Price and mode of payment;
  • Rights and obligations of each party;
  • Obligations for breach of contract