Copyright is defined in the Copyright Act of Trinidad and Tobago as:

“a property right which subsists in literary and artistic works that are original intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain, including in particular-

  • Books, pamphlets, articles, computer programs and other writings;
  • Speeches, lectures, addresses, sermons and other works of the same nature;
  • Dramatic works, dramatico-musical works, pantomimes, choreographic works and other works created for stage productions;
  • Stage productions of works mentioned in paragraph (c);
  • Musical works, with or without accompanying words;
  • Audio-visual works;
  • Works of architecture;
  • Works of drawing, painting, sculpture, engraving, lithography, tapestry and other works of fine art;
  • Photographic works;
  • Works of applied art;
  • Illustrations, maps, plans, sketches, and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science.”

The works described above are protected by the sole fact of their creation and irrespective of their mode or form of expression.  Neither registration of copyright nor the use of the copyright symbol © is required for protection under the Act.

Derivative works such as translations and adaptations, databases and works of mas are also protected under the Act.

The author of a work also has the right to have his name indicated prominently on copies and in connection with any public use of his work, and to object to any distortion or other modification of his work which would be prejudicial to his honour or reputation.  Such rights are known as MORAL RIGHTS which exist independently of his copyright, and even where the author is no longer the owner of copyright. 

Copyright, as with other property rights, can be assigned or transferred.

The mere fact of owning something does not make you the copyright owner.  This is because copyright exists independently of the material on which it is recorded.  If you purchased a painting or a book, for example, you would not also own the copyright unless this has been explicitly transferred to you.