A COPYRIGHT is a collection of rights that is automatically vested to someone who creates an original work of authorship, like a literary work, song, movie or software. These rights include the right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, and to perform and display the work publicly.

The primary objective of copyright is to induce and reward authors, through the provision of property rights, to create new works and to make those works available to the public to enjoy. The theory is that, by granting certain exclusive rights to creators, which allow them to protect theory creative works against theft, they receive the economic rewards and the public receives the benefit of the creative work that might not otherwise be created or disseminated.

A work is an original intellectual creation.


This refers to works such as a painting, sculpture, drawing, engraving, lithography, tapestry, photograph and other works of fine art whether of artistic quality or not. It can also refer to a building or a model of a building, whether the building or model is of artistic quality or not or an illustration, map, plan, sketch and a three-dimensional work relating to geography, topography, architecture or science. It also refers to a work of applied art.

An audiovisual work means a work that consists of a series of related visual images which impart the impression of motion, with or without accompanying sounds, susceptible to being made visible, and includes the aggregate of the sounds embodied in a sound-track associated with such visual images. Examples below are live custom dance, artist live performance.

Custom Dance
Live Music Performance

A collective work is a work created by 2 or more individuals at the initiative and under the direction of another person on the understanding that:

  1. the work will be disclosed by that other person under that person’s own name.
  2. and the identity of the contributing individuals will not be indicated.

Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation and irrespective of their mode or form of expression, content, quality or purpose.

A dramatic work refers to a dramatic work, a dramatic-musical work, a pantomime, a choreographic work and other works created for stage productions. It also refers to a scenario or script for an audiovisual work. An example is TANNA film.

Tanna Film
Wan Smol Bag Drama (WSB)

Literary works refers to works such as a book, pamphlet, article, computer program and other writings. It can also refer to a speech, lecture, address, sermon and other oral works.

Musical works include musical works with or without accompanying words. One example are String Band.

Vanuatu String Band


In copyright law, a derivative work is an expressive creation that includes major copyright-protected elements of an original, previously created first work (the underlying work). The derivative work becomes a second, separate work independent in form from the first.


Economic rights are that right that allows the author of a work to achieve some economic benefits from the use of his or her work by others. In economic rights the owner of the copyright in a work has the exclusive right to carry out or to authorize the following acts in relation to their work:

  • To reproduce the work in any manner or form
  • To publish the work
  • To perform or display the work in public
  • To broadcast the work
  • To make an adaptation, arrangement or other transformation of the work
  • To translate the work
  • To cause the work to be transmitted to subscribers to communications service;
  • To distribute the work to the public by sale, rental, public lending or otherwise;
  • To enter into a commercial rental arrangement in respect of an audiovisual work, a work reproduced in a sound recording or a musical work in the form of a notation
  • In the case of a computer program-to enter into a commercial rental arrangement in respect of the program
  • In the case of an artistic work-to include the work in a televised broadcast
  • To communicate the work in any other way to the public
  • To import copies of the work

The moral rights of an author of a work allow him or her to take certain actions to preserve personal link between him and the work. The moral rights act:

  • To have the author’s name indicated prominently on copies of the work and in connection with any public use of the work, as far as practicable; and
  • To not have the authors name indicated on copies of the work and in connection with any public use of the work; and
  • To not have the author’s name indicated prominently on copies of the work and in connection with any public use of the work; and
  • To use a pseudonym; and
  • To object to: Any distortion, mutilation or other modification of the work; or Any other action in relation to the work; If it would be prejudicial to the author’s honour or reputation
  • Moral rights are not transmissible during the life of the author. However, after an author dies the right to exercise moral rights is transmissible by testamentary disposition or by operation of law.
  • An author may waive all or any of his or her moral rights
  • A waiver must: be in writing; and specify the right or rights waived; and specify the circumstances in which the waiver applies, including the nature and extent of the modification or other action in respect of which the right is waived.
  • Following the death of the author, the person upon whom the author’s moral rights have devolved has the right to waive those rights.


The first of these related rights then are the rights of those who perform the works, namely the performers, singers, actors, dancers, musicians and so on. Example are String band or Custom dance below.

Then there is a second group, the phonogram producers, or more accurately producers of sound recordings as recording material moves on from vinyl phonograph records into the realm of CDs and digital recording media. Theirs is a more commercial kind of protection, in a sense, as the making of a quality sound recording has more to do with the protection of an investment, than with the artistic concerns involved in the making, writing or performance of a song. Nevertheless, even here, in the whole process of selecting the instrumental backing, repertoires, arranging the music and so on, there are some creative elements as well as the more obvious and important economic element. We should bear in mind that these producers are among the most immediate victims of piracy, as they don’t get the money that is diverted to the pirate producers, but then of course their loss, their financial loss, is passed down the line to the performers and authors. This is why producers of sound recordings have also been granted specific rights.

The third group receiving protection for their related rights are broadcasters. Their rights derive from their creative input, namely the making of broadcasts, not from the content of the broadcast, not from the film, for instance, but from the act of broadcasting it. The very fact that they have the ability to emit the signals constituting the broadcast gives them protection rights of a sort in those signals. And there again, it is the investments, the efforts that they made in putting together and broadcasting the various programs that are involved. Examples Vanuatu Broadcasting Television Corporation (VBTC) and Television Blong Vanuatu (TBV) below.