Brief Explanation of the Legal System
Rights of author in Argentina are governed by Law 11.723. It is of the essence to say that Argentina is a member to the Berne Convention. Argentine legislation on the instant rights applies equally to nationals and foreigners; with the exception of the latter in case their county of origin’s legal system does not have any provision recognizing copyrights or the like.
Essential Requirements and Subject Matter Protected
The subject matter protected under the Law is broadly described in article 1 wherein, after enumerating several protectable type of works (e.g. scientific, literary and artistic works, software, compilations, musical works, paintings, engravings, etc.), a broad field of coverage is established which includes “every scientific, literary, artistic or didactic production reproduced through any material embodiment”.
There is no express provision concerning essential requirements for those works described to be within the scope of protection of this portion of this legal system, although case law and jurisprudence have defined minimum standards of novelty and originality to be the basis from where to start. Indeed the dichotomy between idea/expression is present in the Argentine system; the ideas by themselves are not protected; only if and after they are expressed in a tangible media, is such expression the subject matter of protection.
Moral rights are recognized in the Argentine system.
Fair use (publication) for didactic or scientific purposes is accepted to a very limited extent in article 10: 1,000 words out of a literary or scientific work and 8 times or measures of musical works. This is known as the “right of quotation”.
Rights of Author Prosecution
Prosecution works as a deposit system. Even though a work is protected from the moment of its creation, the author may register his/her work with the Dirección Nacional de Derecho de Autorand/or its cooperative bodies, to enforce his/her rights against third parties.
Copyright protection is granted for the life of the author and to his/her heirs for seventy years counted from January 1st of the year following that of the author’s death.
Protection of Foreign Works
Our country requires no formality for protection of the works whose owners come from countries which are members to the Berne Convention. Notwithstanding the foregoing, right owners may likewise apply for registration with the Dirección Nacional de Derecho de Autor [Argentine Copyright Department].