Logo Guide to Business in Spain


7.1 What is copyright?

Copyright generates various types of rights, economic rights and “moral” rights. Moral rights cannot be waived or assigned and they entitle the author to decide, inter alia, whether his work is to be published and to demand acknowledgement as author of the work. Consequently, economic or exploitation rights can be traded and transferred to third parties.

All literary, artistic or scientific works which are original are protected by copyright, in particular, books, music compositions, audiovisual works, projects, plans, graphics, computer programs and databases. The Copyright Law6 also grants related rights to performers, phonogram producers, producers of audiovisual recordings and broadcasting organizations.

7.2 How do you obtain copyright protection?

In Spain, copyright protection is automatic, since it exists from the very moment the work is created. However, it is also possible to register the work on the Copyright Register in order to obtain stronger evidence vis-à-vis third parties.

The application for registration in the Copyright Registry requires payment of the corresponding fees to the Provincial Registry in question. The time for the Registry to issue a decision is approximately 6 months.

7.3 Who owns the rights?

In Spain, the rights are always owned by the author of the work, unless the work was created in the course of an employment relationship, is a collective work or the rights are assigned to a third party.

7.4 How long does copyright protection last?

Copyright protection is granted for 70 years from the death of the author, where the author is a natural person. For authors deceased before 7 December 1987, copyright protection shall last 80 years from their death. In those cases, in which the author is a legal person, the term of protection is 70 years from January 1 of the year following that in which the work was lawfully published, or following the year of its creation, if the work has not been published.

6 In Spain, copyright is governed by Legislative Royal Decree 1/1996 of April 12, 1996. In addition, Spain is party to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.