Copyright Laws in Malaysia

4 min read|Last Updated: April 22, 2024|

After incorporating your company, it is good to take note of what you can copyright as your own to prevent misuse of these assets or materials that could affect your business. Copyright laws in Malaysia are implemented to ensure that exclusive rights belong only to their owners, typically for a limited period.

All company types, such as private limited companies (Sdn. Bhd.) and partnerships, can apply for copyright of assets.

Copyright in Malaysia

Copyright laws protect the creative works created by any photographer, author, producer, musician, artist, sculptor, or any other person. An artist receives it once they can provide sufficient evidence confirming that such works are indeed original pieces.

This law ensures that a copyright permits a person as soon as the person creates the original piece of work. In Malaysia, the primary copyright law is the Copyright Act 1987.

Other laws created to protect copyrights in Malaysia include the Industrial Designs Act 1996 which protects industrial designs as well as the Industrial Designs Regulations 1999.

Malaysia Corporate Secretary Ramu

The company usually does the application for copyright through an IP agency and help by the company secretary.

Protection of Copyrights in Malaysia

Copyrights provide the creator of literary, musical, or artistic work with the exclusive rights to such a work. The laws surrounding such works help in protecting the owner from unauthorised adaptations or reproduction of the works involved.

Copyright laws also protect any organization by safeguarding its revenue-earning assets deriving from any work that protecting by copyright, thereby ensuring the preservation of its intellectual property and financial interests.

To establish ownership of any copyrightable work in Malaysia, the creator of theu work shold prepare the appropriate documentation to prove ownership.

Copyright holders may either claim their ownership through a statutory declaration or by filing a voluntary notification with the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO). This process allows anyone to protect unauthorised use of their content on any platform.

What items copyright protection in Malaysia?ng

Copyright laws in Malaysia specify the creative items that may protect through copyright issues in the country.

Among the items that may receive copyright protection in Malaysia are:

  • Musical works
  • Literary works
  • Films
  • Sound recordings
  • Artistic works
  • Derivative works
  • Broadcasts

Before copyrighting any of these creative works, individuals must provide sufficient evidence confirming that such works are original pieces.

Rights of Copyright Owners in Malaysia

The government of Malaysia has provided certain rights to copyright owners. Copyright owners can be in the form of an individual or any type of company. These rights include legal, moral, and economic rights.

1. Legal rights

This allows the owner, author, creator, or designer of any copyrighted work in Malaysia to protect their work according to the copyright laws of Malaysia. If there is any copyright infringement, the creator or author will permit you to take action against those at fault.

2. Moral rights

Moral rights allow the author to claim the rights to the originality of the creation. However, these rights also encompass the right to prevent any user from mutilating, distorting, or modifying the author’s work in an unauthorized manner, thereby ensuring the integrity and preservation of the original content.

3. Economic rights

Besides, the work owner grants these rights so that they can receive the right of communication to the public, the right to reproduce, the right to perform, the right to distribute, and the right to commercial rental. They may exercise these rights according to the Copyright Act 1987. However, economic rights also allow creators to receive financial benefits through the use of their works for commercial purposes.

Duration of Copyright Protection in Malaysia

The duration of the period for which a copyright is valid differs depending on the laws of the country in which the copyright grants.

For Malaysia, the duration of copyright protection is as follows:

Copyright Work Duration
Literature, music, or any other form of artwork 50 years following the death of the creator(s) of the copyrighted work.

Should any work that is considering a copyright in Malaysia be designing, curated, or written jointly, the copyright will be in effect until the death of all authors or creators. The artwork will be under protection for 50 years after the death of all authors or creators.


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What happens after the period stated in the copyright ends?2024-04-12T11:19:46+08:00

Copyright terms depend on the country in question, for Malaysia specifically, 50 years after the death of the owner/artist, which is the duration copyrights expires, the works will be released into the public domain.

Can anyone receive copyright protection in Malaysia?2024-04-12T11:21:55+08:00

Any person who is the original creator of any artwork, literary work, film, or any other copyrightable work is legally permitted to receive copyright protection in Malaysia. So long as the work meets the required criteria:

  • The work has not been copied from any other present source or any previously existing work
  • Works include literature, film, photographs, and sculptures among others
  • The work must also be able to be verified as genuine before it may receive copyright protection
  • Works created by an architect or engineer will only receive copyright protection if the work is completely designed, built, and located in Malaysia
  • In the case of broadcasts, only broadcasts which have solely been transmitted through Malaysia are protected by the country’s copyright laws.

Any person’s work which has fulfilled all the requirements which have been stated will automatically receive protection according to the copyright laws of Malaysia.

Can Copyright protection be transferred or revoked?2024-04-12T11:22:25+08:00

In Malaysia, such a move is certainly possible as long as the details of this transfer are registered with the copyright office in Malaysia. The certified copy which confirms the transfer as well as the signatures of all people involved must also be supplied.

Can anything which originates from abroad be Copyrighted in Malaysia?2024-04-12T11:22:36+08:00

Anything that originates from a creator from another country is permitted to be copyrighted in Malaysia. This is the case due to the details stated in the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention is an agreement which has been signed by the vast majority of countries in the world today. It serves the purpose of providing protection for the works of the authors, musicians, sculptors, photographers, and others in similar lines of work.

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