On 24 May 2019, the Union Parliament of Myanmar passed the Copyright Law (Law No. 15/2019), it replaces the Copyright Act 1914. The most notable feature of the new copyright law is that it includes copyright protection to foreign works, unlike the old Copyright Act of 1914. There are also protections for non-citizens or non-residents if they are first published in Myanmar, or published in Myanmar within 30 days of first publications somewhere else. It’s important to know that Myanmar has not signed the Berne Convention, which would require member countries to grant the same copyright protection to nationals and foreigners.
The following major principles of the new copyright protection system:-
1. Copyright protection subsists in the following works without registration:
(1) literary and artistic works, performances of performers, phonograms created published by citizens or residents of Myanmar;
(2) works protected under a treaty on copyright protection of which Myanmar is a member state, provided that they are original works first published in Myanmar or abroad but subsequently published in Myanmar within 30 days from their first publication date.
2. Literary and artistic works include: written, oral, musical, choreographic, architectural, traditional and cultural expressions, lithographical and photographical works, works of print, works of applied art, illustrations, adaptations of works and datasets.
3. Terms of copyright protection are shown in the table below:
Authors of literary and artistic works have a moral right over them throughout his or her lifetime plus an unlimited period of time after his or her death.
4. Copyright owners have an exclusive right to reproduce, translate, adapt, arrange, transform, modify, distribute, sell, transfer, assign, license, rent the original or a copy of a copyright work.
5. Reproduction of a copyright work without authorization of the rights holder under some circumstances such as reproduction for educational or personal use is allowed provided that it does not impact the rights of copyright owners.
6. A copyright owner has the right, but is not obligated, to register a copyright work.
There are penalties if these laws are broken. The minimum penalties stipulated for specified offences are imprisonment not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding MMK 1 million (approx. USD 660). Repeat offenders may be subject to imprisonment of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of up to MMK 10 million (approx. USD 6,600).
Contact us for a full copy of the law!