Frequent questions

Question:…Which legal text regulates intellectual property in Spain? 

Answer:…The Texto Refundido de la Ley de Propiedad Intelectual, approved by the Real Decreto Legislativo 1/1996, de 12 de abril, which is currently in force although it has undergone several modifications….

(November 2016)

Question:…What can be the subject matter of an intellectual work?

Answer:…All original literary, artistic or scientific creations expressed by any means or medium, tangible or intangible, now known or to be invented in the future. For example: books, pamphlets, speeches, lectures, musical compositions, theatrical works, cinematographic works, sculptures and plastic works, projects, plans and designs of architectural and engineering works; graphs and maps, photographic works, computer programs, and even the title of a work, when it is original.

(November 2016)

Question:…Are all intellectual works protected by copyright law?

Answer:…No. Specifically, legal or regulatory provisions and their corresponding drafts, the resolutions of jurisdictional bodies and the acts, agreements, deliberations and opinions of public bodies, as well as the official translations of all the above texts are not subject to intellectual property.

(November 2016)

Question:…In addition to original works, can copyright protect other types of works?

Answer:…Yes. Translations and adaptations; revisions, updates and annotations; abridgements, summaries and extracts; musical arrangements; and, in general, any transformation of a literary, artistic or scientific work are also copyrightable.

(November 2016)

Question:…What kind of rights do I have as the author of an intellectual work?

Answer:…Intellectual property is made up of rights of a personal and economic nature, which give the author full disposal and the right to exploit it without any limitations other than those established by law. The former, better known as moral rights, are unrenounceable and inalienable. Economic rights derive from the exploitation of the work and can be assigned to third parties.

(November 2016)

Question:…What are the moral rights of authors?

Answer:…They allow the author to decide whether or not his work is to be disclosed; to determine whether such disclosure is to be made under his name, under a pseudonym or sign, or anonymously; to demand recognition of his status as the author of the work; to demand respect for the integrity of the work and to prevent any distortion, modification, alteration or attack on it that would be prejudicial to his legitimate interests or detrimental to his reputation; modify the work while respecting the rights acquired by third parties and the requirements for the protection of goods of cultural interest; withdraw the work from commerce, due to a change in their intellectual or moral convictions; and have access to the unique or rare copy of the work when it is in the possession of another.

(November 2016)

Question:…What are the exploitation rights?

Answer:…The right of reproduction, distribution, public communication and transformation. In order for a third party to exercise any of these rights, the authorisation of the author of the work is required.

(November 2016)

Question:…If I intend to carry out the reproduction, distribution, public communication or transformation of another person’s work, do I need the authorisation of the author of the work?

Answer:…Yes, except in the cases expressly provided for in the Intellectual Property Law. This is what is known as “limits” to copyright. For example, the legal limit of private copying means that the reproduction of already disclosed works, when carried out by a natural person for his private use and without commercial purposes, and made from works to which he has had legal access, does not require the author’s authorisation.

For example, acts of reproduction, distribution and communication to the public of already disclosed works for the benefit of persons with disabilities do not require authorisation either, provided that they are not for profit, are directly related to the disability in question, are carried out by a process or means adapted to the disability and are limited to what is required by the disability.

(November 2016)

Question:…Can I transfer my exploitation rights to another person?

Answer:…Yes, the transfer must be made in writing and would be limited to the right(s) transferred, to the expressly foreseen methods of exploitation and to the time and territorial scope to be determined.

(November 2016)

Question:…Who can assign these rights?

Answer:…Authors of legal age and also authors under the age of eighteen and over the age of sixteen, provided that they live independently with the consent of their parents or guardians or with the authorisation of the person or institution in charge of them.

(November 2016)

Question:…Can I insert a quotation from a scientific work in my work?

Answer:…It is permissible to include in one’s own work fragments (small fragments of a work, an extract or quantitatively insignificant portion of the work as a whole) from other works, provided that they are already published and their inclusion is made by way of quotation or for analysis, commentary or critical judgement. Such use may only be made for teaching or research purposes, to the extent justified by the purpose of such incorporation and indicating the source and the name of the author of the work used.

(November 2016)

Question:…Can I insert a literary quotation in my scientific work?

Answer:…This type of quotation does not fall under the exception provided for in the law. This means that if a person wants to insert a quotation to embellish their work (e.g. in the introduction) they need to have the author’s consent, unless the quotation is in a work that is already in the public domain.

(November 2016)

Question:…How long do the exploitation rights last?

Answer:…These rights last for the life of the author and seventy years after his death or declaration of death.

(November 2016)

Question:…At what point is a work considered to enter the public domain?

Answer:…Once the right has been extinguished for its author, i.e. 70 years after his death or declaration of death.

(November 2016)

Question:...What does it mean for a work to be in the public domain?

Answer:…That it can be used by anyone, as long as its authorship and integrity are respected.

(November 2016)

Question:…What is open access?

Answer:…Open access is the open posting of our scientific output on the internet, allowing anyone to read, download, copy, print, distribute or make any other use of it as intended.

(November 2016)

Question:…What are the benefits of publishing openly?

Answer:….Works that are published openly have greater visibility and therefore a higher impact index. It also makes it easier for anyone to access the research.

(November 2016)

Question:…How can I publish in open access?

Answer:….Through open access journals or through institutional repositories, such as RediUMH.

(November 2016)

Question:…Do students have copyright on their works (papers, notes, abstracts, theses, etc.)?

Answer:….Yes, according to articles 7 and 8 of Royal Decree 1791/2010, of 30 December, which approves the University Student Statute, university students have the right to recognition of authorship of the work produced during their studies, including both the Final Degree Project and previous research work, as well as the intellectual protection of the same. The same applies to Master’s students (art. 9).

(November 2016)

Question:…If I want to include another author’s photos in my book, do I need their consent?

Answer:….In general, yes. However, it will not be necessary to have such consent as long as the following requirements are met:

  • The work in which the photos are to be included is for teaching or research purposes.
  • The photos have already been published.
  • The photos are included for the purposes of quotation or analysis, commentary or critical judgement.
  • The source and the name of the author of the photos used are cited.

And if the photos are so old that they are already in the public domain (70 years after the author’s death) they can be used without problem, as long as their authorship and integrity are respected.

(November 2016)

Question:…Which legal text regulates intellectual property in Spain? 

Answer:…The Texto Refundido de la Ley de Propiedad Intelectual, approved by the Real Decreto Legislativo 1/1996, de 12 de abril, which is currently in force although it has undergone several modifications.

(November 2016)

Question:…What can be the subject matter of an intellectual work?

Answer:…All original literary, artistic or scientific creations expressed by any means or medium, tangible or intangible, now known or to be invented in the future. For example: books, pamphlets, speeches, lectures, musical compositions, theatrical works, cinematographic works, sculptures and plastic works, projects, plans and designs of architectural and engineering works; graphs and maps, photographic works, computer programs, and even the title of a work, when it is original.

(November 2016)

Question:…Are all intellectual works protected by copyright law?

Answer:…No. In particular, legal or regulatory provisions and their corresponding drafts, decisions of jurisdictional bodies and acts, agreements, deliberations and opinions of public bodies, as well as official translations of all the above texts are not subject to intellectual property.

(November 2016)

Question:…In addition to original works, can copyright protect other types of works?

Answer:…Yes. Translations and adaptations; revisions, updates and annotations; abridgements, summaries and extracts; musical arrangements; and, in general, any transformation of a literary, artistic or scientific work are also subject to copyright.

(November 2016)

Question:…What types of rights do I have as the author of an intellectual work?

Answer:…Intellectual property is made up of rights of a personal and economic nature, which give the author its full disposal and the right to exploit it without any limitations other than those established by law. The former, better known as moral rights, are unrenounceable and inalienable. Economic rights derive from the exploitation of the work and can be assigned to third parties.

(November 2016)

Question:…What are the moral rights of authors?

Answer:… They allow the author to decide whether or not his work is to be disclosed; to determine whether such disclosure is to be made under his name, under a pseudonym or sign, or anonymously; to demand recognition of his status as the author of the work; to demand respect for the integrity of the work and to prevent any distortion, modification, alteration or attack on it that would be prejudicial to his legitimate interests or detrimental to his reputation; modify the work while respecting the rights acquired by third parties and the requirements for the protection of goods of cultural interest; withdraw the work from commerce, due to a change in their intellectual or moral convictions; and have access to the unique or rare copy of the work when it is in the possession of another.

(November 2016)

Question:…What are the exploitation rights?

Answer:…The right of reproduction, the right of distribution, the right of public communication and the right of transformation. In order for a third party to exercise any of these rights, the authorisation of the author of the work is required.

(November 2016)

Question:…If I intend to carry out the reproduction, distribution, public communication or transformation of another person’s work, do I need the authorisation of the author of the work?

Answer:…Yes, except in the cases expressly provided for in the Intellectual Property Law. This is what is known as “limits” to copyright. For example, the legal limit of private copying means that the reproduction of already disclosed works, when carried out by a natural person for his private use and without commercial purposes, and made from works to which he has had legal access, does not require the author’s authorisation.

For example, acts of reproduction, distribution and communication to the public of already disclosed works for the benefit of persons with disabilities do not require authorisation either, provided that they are not for profit, are directly related to the disability in question, are carried out by a process or means adapted to the disability and are limited to what is required by the disability.

(November 2016)

Question:…Can I transfer my exploitation rights to another person?

Answer:...Yes, the transfer must be made in writing and would be limited to the right(s) transferred, to the methods of exploitation expressly provided for and to the time and territorial scope to be determined.

(November 2016)

Question:…Who can assign these rights?

Answer:…Authors of legal age and also authors under the age of eighteen and over the age of sixteen, provided that they live independently with the consent of their parents or guardians or with the authorisation of the person or institution in charge of them.

(November 2016)

Question:…Can I insert a quotation from a scientific work in my work?

Answer:…The inclusion of fragments (small fragments of a work, an extract or quantitatively insignificant portion of the work as a whole) of other works in your own work is lawful, provided that they are already published works and their inclusion is done as a quotation or for their analysis, commentary or critical judgement. Such use may only be made for teaching or research purposes, to the extent justified by the purpose of such incorporation and indicating the source and the name of the author of the work used.

(November 2016)

Question:…Who can assign these rights?

Answer:…Authors of legal age and also authors under the age of eighteen and over the age of sixteen, provided that they live independently with the consent of their parents or guardians or with the authorisation of the person or institution in charge of them.

(November 2016)

Question:…Can I insert a quotation from a scientific work in my work?

Answer:…The inclusion of fragments (small fragments of a work, an extract or quantitatively insignificant portion of the work as a whole) of other works in your own work is lawful, provided that they are already published works and their inclusion is done as a quotation or for their analysis, commentary or critical judgement. Such use may only be made for teaching or research purposes, to the extent justified by the purpose of such incorporation and indicating the source and the name of the author of the work used.

(November 2016)

Question:…Can I insert a literary quotation in my scientific work?

Answer:…This type of quotation does not fall under the exception provided for in the law. This means that if a person wants to insert a quotation to embellish their work (e.g. in the introduction) they need to have the author’s consent, unless the quotation is in a work that is already in the public domain.

(November 2016)

Question:…How long do exploitation rights last?

Answer:…These rights last for the life of the author and seventy years after his death or declaration of death.

(November 2016)

Question:…At what point is a work considered to enter the public domain?

Answer:…Once the right has expired for its author, i.e. 70 years after his death or declaration of death.

(November 2016)

Question:…What does it mean for a work to be in the public domain?

Answer:…That it can be used by anyone, as long as its authorship and integrity are respected.

(November 2016)

Question:…What is open access?

Answer:…Open access is the open posting of our scientific output on the internet, allowing anyone to read, download, copy, print, distribute or make any other use of it as intended.

(November 2016)

Question:…What are the benefits of open publishing?

Answer:…Works that are published openly have greater visibility and therefore a higher impact index. It also makes it easier for anyone to access the research.

(November 2016)

Question:…How can I publish in open access?

Answer:…Through open access journals or through institutional repositories, such as RediUMH.

(November 2016)

Question:…Do students have copyright on their works (papers, notes, abstracts, theses, etc.)?

Answer:…Yes. According to articles 7 and 8 of Royal Decree 1791/2010, of 30 December, which approves the University Student Statute, university students are entitled to recognition of the authorship of the work produced during their studies, including both the Final Degree Project and previous research work, as well as the intellectual protection of the same. The same applies to Master’s students (art. 9).

(November 2016)

Question:…If I want to include another author’s photos in my book, do I need their consent?

Answer:…In general, yes. However, it will not be necessary to have such consent as long as the following requirements are met:

  • The work in which the photos are to be included is for teaching or research purposes.
  • The photos are already published.
  • The photos are included for the purposes of quotation or analysis, commentary or critical judgement.
  • The source and the name of the author of the photos used are cited.

And if the photos are so old that they are already in the public domain (70 years after the author’s death) they can be used without problem, as long as their authorship and integrity are respected.

(November 2016)