What is Copyright

Copyright in relation to a musical work is the exclusive right which the owner has over its use and his entitlement to rely on the law to prevent others from using such work without his consent.  The Malaysian Copyright Act of 1987 defines copyright in relation to a musical work as being the exclusive right to:
  • reproduce a work in any material form;
• communicate a work to the public;
• perform, show or play a work to the public;
• distribute copies of a work to the public by sale or transfer of ownership;
• commercial rent a work to the public

This allows composers and authors to prevent other people from using their musical work without their consent. Consent is normally granted by way of payment of a fee which is commonly known as royalties.

Duration of Copyright

In Malaysia, copyright in a musical work subsists during the life of the author and fifty (50) years after his death. However, if before the death of the author, a work has not been published or broadcast, copyright in a work continues to subsist until the expiration of fifty (50) years following the first of the above events taking place.   As regards a work of joint authorship, the life of the author who dies last is used for the purpose of calculating the copyright duration of the work.

How Is Copyright Infringed

The copyright in a musical work is infringed by a person who, not being the owner of the copyright and without the licence from the copyright owner, does or causes any of the above mentioned acts controlled by copyright under the Malaysian Copyright Act.

More Information On Copyright

To know more about copyright and music licensing bodies in Malaysia, you can contact the Copyright Division of the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) which is the copyright policy making body of the Government or alternatively you can visit MyIPO’s website at the following address: