The Maldives became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2004. Despite this, the first legislation towards ensuring copyrights and other intellect property rights came in the form of the Copyrights and Related Rights Act which was passed in October 2010 and subsequently came into force in April 2011.
However, the scope of the Copyrights and Related Rights Act was limited to local talents and patents meaning that the Maldives, to date, does not have a formal legislation that addresses key aspects of intellectual property rights such as international trademarks. As a result, protection of international trademarks were achieved through publication of cautionary notices.
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Frequently Asked Questions
COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION (LOCAL)
To register a copyright, you are required to submit an application in the form of the Copyright Registration Form with the electronic copies of the work/creation for which copyright is to be registered.
Where should I file the application to register a copyright under the Copyrights and Related Rights Act?
Applications to register a copyright must be filed before the Ministry of Economic Development.
For each Copyright Registration Application, you are required to pay a registration fee of MVR 1,000 (Maldivian Rufiyaa One Thousand) which is non-refundable even in case if the copyright registration is later deemed void.
Do I have to register my work under the Copyrights and Related Rights Act to be entitled to the copyright protection in Maldives?
No. It is not a requirement for you to formally register a copyright in order to claim for copyrights of your original work. The registration mechanism under the Copyrights and Related Rights Act is to assist you in establishing that you are the original producer of your original work in the event if a formal dispute arising in relation to a claim of copyrights.
What are the categories of original work which is protected under the Copyrights and Related Rights Act?
Copyright protection under the Copyrights and Related Rights Act is generally applicable to four broader categories. They are:
- Literary and artistic works including derivative works—these may include printed media, artworks, photographic works, illustrations, sketches, audiovisual works and computer programmes whether represented as source codes or object codes. Derivative works include translations, adaptations and collections.
- Performances of performers— this includes all performances of performers who are Maldivian nationals; and performances of non-Maldivian performers if (a) the performance in concern had taken place within the territory of Maldives; or (b) is part of sound recordings that is protected under the Act; or (c) although not included as a fixation in a sound recording but is included as part of a broadcast that qualifies for protection under the Act.
- Sound recordings—this includes (a) sound recordings produced by Maldivian nationals, (b) sound recordings of which the master recording or fixation was first done in Maldives and (c) sound recordings first published in the Maldives.
- Broadcasts—this includes (a) original content broadcasted by broadcasters whose head office is based in the Maldives or (b) broadcasts transmitted from transmitters based in the Maldives.
In addition to the above, any work that is recognized to be given copyright protection under any international convention or agreement to which the Maldives is a party to will also be eligible for copyright protection under the Act.
Does the Copyrights and Related Rights Act provide any protection to original works that is produced by Non-Maldivians?
The copyright protection afforded under the Copyrights and Related Rights Act is generally for the original works of Maldivian(s) and those who reside or is based in the Maldives.
Currently the Maldives does not have a formal legal framework in place for official registration/recognition of international trademarks. Therefore, as an alternative approach, trademark protection is sought through publication of cautionary notices meant to give the public the constructive notice of rights owned by the owner of the trademark.
No. Cautionary Notice is a mere publication of a notice in the newspaper notifying the general public of the legal rights of the owner of the trademark. In the event of a dispute or claim arising in relation to a trademark violation locally, the Cautionary Notice will then serve as a material piece of documentary evidence depending on the nature and context of the claim.
A cautionary notice maybe renewed by republishing the notice periodically.
The frequency of re-publishing cautionary notices is at the discretion of the trademark owner. We often advise our clients to re-publish trademark notices in time intervals between 1 to 3 years. However, there is no hard and fast rules on this.
The decision to publish a cautionary notice in English or in the native Dhivehi Language is up to the trademark owner. However, we advise our clients to publish the notice in both English and Dhivehi language to so as to ensure a larger audience is reached. Our firm can assist you in drafting the notices in both languages to cater to this need.