Sociology Index

Spanish Copyright Law

Intellectual Property Rights

The Spanish "copyright" is regulated in the Intellectual Property Law formulated in 1987. The copyright is for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. It always assigns copyright to the author and he or she is not allowed to disclaim it. Spanish copyright law governs copyright (Spanish: derechos de autor), that is the rights of authors of literary, artistic or scientific works, in Spain. It was first instituted by the Law of 10 January 1879, and, in its origins, was influenced by French copyright law and by the movement led by Émile Zola for the international protection of literary and artistic works. The principal dispositions are contained in Book One of the Intellectual Property Law.

The concept of a "protected work" covers "all original literary, artistic or scientific creations expressed in any medium or support". Works are protected by "the sole fact of their creation", regardless of the nationality of the author or the place of publication. Corporate persons can only be authors of collective work. Collections of works and other collections of data which, by reason of the selection or arrangement of the contents, constitute intellectual creations are also protected.

The following official works are not covered by copyright protection:

Laws and reglementary dispositions, either approved or awaiting approval

Court judgements

Acts, agreements, deliberations and rulings of public bodies

Official translations of any of the above

Images are only concerned by this exception to copyright protection when they form an integral part of any of the above, for example the diagrams in a patent: otherwise the copyright is held by the author of the image.

Duration of the rights of exploitation

In general, copyright protection in Spain lasts for the life of the author plus seventy years. Collective works are protected for seventy years following publication, as are pseudonymous and anonymous works unless the identity of the author becomes known. It always assigns copyright to the author and he or she is not allowed to disclaim it. Posthumous works are protected for seventy years following publication provided they are published within seventy years of the death of the author. All of these time periods are calculated starting from 1st January following death or publication.