Copyright is the recognition by the State in favor of any creator or artist of original works, such as literary or pictorial works, all regardless of their genre and whatever the method or form of expression, quality or purpose. In particular we can include: computer programs, lectures, speeches, sermons and works expressed orally; musicals with or without words, dramatic and dramatic-musicals, choreography and pantomime, audiovisuals, fine arts such as drawings, paintings, sculptures, prints, lithographs and architecture, photographs, applied art, illustrations, maps, plans, sketches and three-dimensional works related to geography, topography, architecture or sciences.

The State, through the General Directorate of Intellectual Property and the Copyright and Related Rights Office, aims to guarantee the legal security of authors, holders of the respective property rights and their successors in title so that the author enjoys exclusive prerogatives and privileges of a personal nature; the so-called moral right and economic or property right.

These author’s rights are declaratory according to Article 3 of the Copyright Law, Decree 4-99E; since the rights recognized to the author and to the holders of related rights are independent from each other. That is to say that such rights are independent of the ownership of the material object, say an apparatus, in which the intellectual property, the work, is incorporated, and are not subject to the fulfillment of any formality. The artist enjoys his rights from the very creation of the work.

However, article 46 of said law also sets out the limitations on the author’s rights. The use of these only requires that the source and the name of the author, when indicated on the work, must be mentioned if any of the following acts are performed:

  1. Reproducing and distributing by the press or broadcasting, articles of current affairs and varied discussion; published in newspapers or radio that have the same nature, and that such public transmissions have not been expressly reserved;
  2. To reproduce and make available to the public, on the occasion of news reports by means of photography, video or radio, fragments of works seen or heard in the course of such events, to the extent justified by the purpose of the information.
  3. Use by any form of communication to the public, political and judicial speeches, dissertations, addresses, sermons and other similar works, delivered in public, for information purposes, on current events, with the authors retaining the exclusive right to publish them for other purposes.

These limitations provided for in the national law derive from Article 9 paragraph 2 of the Berne Convention, which reads: “It shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of such works in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.”

The text of this rule was subsequently reiterated in its entirety by Article 132 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which has been refined into what the doctrine and jurisprudence on the subject call the three-step rule.

So, in order to configure any of the exceptions and limitations to copyright, it is necessary that it:

  • It is expressly provided for;
  • It does not prejudice the normal exploitation of the work;
  • It does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author

Other types of Copyright exceptions:

  1. Private Copy: Copies of works lawfully acquired by a person are permitted without the author’s authorization, provided that the copy of the work is for personal use and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.
  2. Private Copy: Photocopying and microfilming provided that they are limited to small parts of a protected work or to works that are out of stock.
  3. Private Copy: It is free to reproduce in a single manuscript or typed copy made by the interested party, of didactic or scientific work, for their own use and not for profit.
  4. Copies from public libraries: These may reproduce for the exclusive use of their readers a copy of protected works deposited in their archive collections that are out of print.
  5. Honest uses: Reproduction by reprographic means for teaching purposes, provided that there is no profit motive, on condition that such use is made in accordance with honest practices.
  6. It is also lawful, for personal use, to reproduce a work of art permanently exhibited in the streets, squares or other public places.
  7. Backup: The reproduction of a single copy of the computer program, exclusively for backup purposes.
  8. Laws, regulations, agreements and other provisions issued by the corresponding State bodies may be reproduced.

Although all these limitations are reflected in national legislation, copyright violations occur on a daily basis because they are not properly regulated. In the case of universities, any amount of photocopied material ready for sale can be found in the photocopying facilities, while the original copies are available in bookstores ready to be purchased by the public. Therefore, the authorities of the universities become accomplices of such violations since they attempt against the normal exploitation of the protected works; causing an unjustified damage to the legitimate interests of the authors both national and international.