Copyright originates at the very moment in which a work is created, without requiring registration or filing. Therefore, the author automatically acquires the rights to the work created, as its originator.

What protects copyright?

Intellectual works (websites, blogs, software, photographs, drawings, books, etc.) can be protected as long as they meet the requirement of originality and creativity, as expressions of the personal intellectual activity of the author who created the work.
As regulated by Article 1 of the Copyright Law (Italian Copyright Law no. 633 of 22 April 1941) and Article 2575 of the Italian Civil Code:

"The subject of copyright is works of creative genius belonging to literature, music, the figurative arts, architecture, theatre and cinema, whatever their mode or form of expression."

In addition to the previous copyright requirements, novelty must also be included.

Legal protection and consent to use

Please note that simply having an idea in itself is not enough, the idea must be externalised: those who have the idea must also become the author, making the idea concrete and actually implementing it.

In doing so, intellectual property can be protected from possible infringements for any unlawful use without authorisation from the copyright holder.

Therefore, in order to legally protect an intellectual work, its exclusive rights held by the author must be distinguished between those for the protection of his person and those for the protection of his assets.

What are the protected rights?

Consequently, the rights acquired by the author on his work are moral (moral rights) and economic (patrimonial rights).

Moral rights

These concern the protection of the "person of the author" who, in addition to claiming authorship of the work, can oppose any type of modification and act that may affect his honour and reputation (Article 20, Italian Copyright Law - Article 2577, second paragraph, Italian Civil Code).
In addition, the author has the right to:
  • Withdraw the work from the market, if "serious moral reasons" arise (Article 142, Italian Copyright Law)

  • Decide whether to publish an unpublished work, and when (Article 24, Italian Copyright Law).

As moral rights are closely related to the intellectual work of the author and to the final creation of the work, they can be exercised regardless of property rights and are inalienable, imprescriptible and indefeasible.

Therefore, they cannot be assigned or taken away by prescription.

In addition, for example, the authorship of the work is also recognised for the employee who creates it while carrying out their duties as a programmer or designer.

Patrimonial rights

These concern the economic use of the work, meaning the author of the work can decide whether and when to grant its use through, among others, the right to:
  • Reproduction in any manner or form (Article 12, Italian Copyright Law and Article 2577, first paragraph, Italian Civil Code)

  • Transcription (from oral to written work)

  • Communication to the public

  • Distribution (putting the work on the market)

  • Processing (including translation)

  • Rental

All rights, on the entire work or on parts thereof, can be exercised exclusively independently of others, or jointly (Article 19, Italian Copyright Law). These are also rights that can be transferred, acquired and sold in all the manners established by law.

How long is a copyright valid?

Throughout the author's entire life and up to 70 years after his death, extending to his heirs. At the end of this period, the work falls into the public domain.