Copyright is a collection of personal and proprietary rights owned by the author. The moral rights of an author are inseparable from the author’s person and non-transferable. The personal rights of the author include the right of authorship, right of author’s name, right of the protection of the author’s honor and reputation, right of integrity of the work, right of additions to the work, right of supplementation of the work etc. The proprietary rights of an author are transferable as single rights or a set of rights for a charge or free of charge. The proprietary rights of the author include right of reproduction of the work, right of distribution of the work, right of translation of the work, right of alteration of the work, right of collections of works, right of public performance and exhibition, right of communication of the work and right of making the work available to the public. In Estonia, copyright is regulated by the Copyright Act.
Copyright arises when literary, artistic or scientific work is created. A work is original if it is the author’s own intellectual creation. The creation of a work means the moment of expression of the work in any objective form which allows the perception and reproduction or fixation of the work. The registration or deposit of a work or completion of other formalities is not required for the creation or exercise of copyright.
Copyright protection applies to:
1) written works in the fields of fiction, journalism, politics, education, etc.;
2) scientific works or works of popular science, either written or three-dimensional (monographs, articles, reports on scientific research, plans, schemes, models, tests, etc.);
3) computer programs that shall be protected as literary works. Protection applies to the expression in any form of a computer program;
4) speeches, lectures, addresses, sermons and other works which consist of words and which are expressed orally (oral works);
5) scripts and script outlines, librettos;
6) dramatic and dramatico-musical works;
7) musical compositions with or without words;
8) choreographic works and entertainments in dumb show;
9) audiovisual works;
10) works of painting, graphic arts, typography, drawings;
11) productions and works of set design;
12) works of sculpture;
13) architectural graphics (drawings, drafts, schemes, figures, plans, projects, etc.), letters of explanation explaining the contents of a project, additional texts and programs, architectural works of plastic art (models, etc.), works of architecture and landscape architecture (buildings, constructions, parks, green areas, etc.), urban developmental ensembles and complexes;
14) works of applied art;
15) works of design and fashion design;
16) photographic works and works expressed by a process analogous to photography, slides and slide films;
17) cartographic works (topographic, geographic, geological, etc. maps, atlases, models);
18) draft legislation;
19) standards and draft standards;
20) opinions, reviews, expert opinions, etc.;
21) derivative works, i.e. translations, adaptations of original works, modifications (arrangements) and other alterations of works;
22) collections of works and information (including databases). Databases which, by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute the author’s own intellectual creation shall be protected as such by copyright and no other criteria are applied;
23) other works.
Copyright protection does not apply to:
1) ideas, images, notions, theories, processes, systems, methods, concepts, principles, discoveries, inventions, and other results of intellectual activities which are described, explained or expressed in any other manner in a work;
2) works of folklore;
3) legislation and administrative documents (acts, decrees, regulations, statutes, instructions, directives) and official translations thereof;
4) court decisions and official translations thereof;
5) official symbols of the state and insignia of organisations (flags, coats of arms, orders, medals, badges, etc.);
6) news of the day;
7) facts and data;
8) ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its user interfaces.
No, copyright is not registered in Estonia. Registration of work is not required for the creation and exercise of copyright.
The term of protection of copyright is the life of the author and seventy years after his or her death. The term of protection of copyright in a work created jointly shall be the life of the last surviving author and seventy years after his or her death. In the case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, the term of protection of copyright shall run for seventy years after the work is lawfully made available to the public. If the author of the work discloses his identity during the above-mentioned period or leaves no doubt as to the connection between the authorship of the work and the person who created the work, the work will be protected within the general term. The term of protection of copyright in a collective work or work created in the execution of duties shall run for seventy years after the work is lawfully made available to the public.
The term begins on the first of January of the year following the year of the death of the author or of the year following the year when the work was lawfully made available to the public or of the year following the year of creation of the work. The authorship of a certain work, the name of the author and the honour and reputation of the author shall be protected without a term. The use of the title (name) of a work by another author for a similar work when the term of protection of copyright has expired is not permitted if such use may result in identification of authors which would mislead the public. Works whose term of protection of copyright has expired may be freely used by all persons pursuant to the provisions of the Copyright Act.
The authorship of a person who publishes a work under his or her own name or under his or her well-known pseudonym or trademark shall be presumed until proven otherwise. The burden of proof lies with the opponent of the copyright protection of the work.
Last updated: 26.04.2022