Copyright is according to the Aruban Copyrights Act, the exclusive right of the creator of a work of art, literature or science to publish, produce and reproduce his work, or to allow someone else to do so, except for limitations provided by the law.
Generally, the owner of the copyright is:
1. the creator of the work;
2. the employer, if the work was created in the course of employment unless there is an agreement to the contrary;
3. the person who commissions a photograph, portrait, engraving or print for valuable consideration (which has been paid) unless there is an agreement to the contrary; or
4. some other party, if the original owner has transferred the rights.
As public disclosure should be understood:
Copyright applies to all
original literary, scientific, dramatic, musical and artistic works. These
include books, other writings, music, sculptures, paintings, photographs, films,
plays, television and radio programs, computer programs and generally all
works, in whatever way or form they are reproduced or multiplied, that are
copyrighted in accordance with the Aruban Copyrights Act.
A poem, painting, musical score, computer program – all these are valuable creations, although perhaps no one can measure their worth. Some may earn a lot of money in the marketplace and others, none at all. Regardless of their merit or commercial value, Aruban law regards all such original creative works to be copyright material. This means that if you own the copyright in a poem, song, or other work, you have a number of rights which are protected under the Aruban Copyrights Act.
Through copyrights the author acquires 2 kinds of basic rights:
a. economic rights (rights of exploitation);
b. moral rights (personality rights)
What are economic rights?
The economic rights are not exclusive rights of authorization but, merely rights of remuneration. The copyright owner has the right to receive a reasonable part of proceeds of the general use of his work. That’s why he can negotiate his economic rights.
What are moral rights?
Even if you sell your copyright (economic rights)
to someone else, you still retain what are called moral rights. This means that
no one, including the person who owns the copyright is allowed to distort,
mutilate or otherwise modify your work in a way that is prejudicial to your
honour or reputation. Your name must also be associated with the work as its
author, if reasonable in the circumstances. In addition, your work may not be
used in association with a product, service, cause or institution in a way that
is prejudicial to your honour or reputation without your permission. Moral
rights are non-transferable properties of the author.
How can the copyright owner transfer, assign or license his copyrights?
Economic rights of the copyrighted works may be partially or fully transferred, assigned or licensed to or obtainable by third parties by deed effected with consent of the copyright owner and third parties by official notary deed, or agreement in writing between parties. The deed or agreement, however, to have effect to third parties should be made known to the public general and disclosure of details, but for the assignment, licensing or other form of authorization and the duration of the latter, is not mandatory.
What is the difference between an assignment and a licence?
An assignment is a transfer
of ownership of the copyright from one party to another. A licence is a contract
which, for specific purposes, allows someone to use a work temporarily.
What kind of protection is granted?
The copyright owner is rightfully international protected against any unauthorized use of his work. The one who purposely makes an illegal change in the title of or in the indication of the author in or on any copyrighted literary, scientific or artistic work, shall be punished with a fine and or imprisonment. The work may be confiscated in case it should pertain to the one punished.
What kind of works are not granted copyright protection?
No copyright protection is granted on:
a. laws, decrees and regulations issued by the public authorities;
b. court-sentences and/or administrative rulings;
any other work published by the
public authorities, except in those events of reserved rights, be it in general
by laws, decrees, or regulations, or in a specific case showed by a statement on
the work itself or at its publication.
What is the validity period of a copyright?
• Copyright lasts for the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and for 50 years following the end of the calendar year. Therefore, protection will expire on December 31 of the 50th year. After that, the work becomes part of the public domain and anyone can use it.
• A copyright expires by a lapse of 50 years as of the date of the passing away of the author or the longest living co-author of the work (in case of joint autorship).
• A work who’s author is unknown or has never been revealed or not in a way his real name is traceable, expires 50 years after the last day of the calendar year in which the work has been publicly disclosed for the first time.
• Same duration of copyrights is granted in works published after the author’s death, in case of copyrights pertaining to public entities, corporates, etc. and likewise to motion pictures, photographic or sortlike works.
• Exclusive right for
translations have a duration of 10 years.
Do I have to register my work?
No. Since you obtain copyright automatically when you create an original work, you are automatically protected by law. However, it is still a good idea (in case of doubt in the right authorship) to register your copyright and to indicate notice of copyright on your works.
Registration gives you a certificate that states you are the copyright owner. You can use this certificate in court to establish ownership.
Do I have to deposit a copy of my work at the Bureau?
Yes. In case of (big) paintings or handcrafts/souvenirs etc., you just have to file photo’s (not too small) of these works.
What do I have to do to register my copyrights?
You file an application with the Bureau along with a copy of your work and a copy of a valid ID card. An application form is available from the Bureau or by visiting
What is the registration fee?
The registration is (still) free of charge.
Do I have to protect my work myself?
The Bureau does not verify ownership. Only the courts can do that.
Nor does the Bureau act as a “watch-dog”, looking who is violating someone’s
rights (his copyrighted work). It is not the
responsability of the Bureau to prevent others from infringing the rights of the
copyright owner. So the copyright owner has to protect his work himself,
watching for unlawful use of his copyright material. Plagiarism – passing off
someone’s else’s work as your own – is a form of copyright infringement.
Are copyrights valid in foreign countries?
By registering in Aruba the
author will obtain international protection.
What will the new Copyrights Act contain?
Copyright law has become increasingly complex over the years to respond to a sophisticated communications environment. In this high-tech age, there are many new ways of pruducing creative works as well as of imitating or exploiting them without the creator’s permission. The photocopier, videocassette recorder, and personal computer digital reproduction of songs are just a few examples of modern devices that help artists communicate with their audiences, but that also makes it harder to control unlawful use. Although authors can appeal in court when their rights are infringed, they would like to obtain new legal forms of protection to cover the challenge of these new technologies which open easy ways to commit piracy on a large scale.
The Bureau is planning to
prepare a draft for a new Copyrights Act, by revising the