Ownership of Copyright in Works Created in Employment Relationships: Comparative Study of the Laws of Colombia, Germany and the United States of America

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José Roberto Herrera Diaz


Great quantities of copyrighted works around the world are produced in the context of labor law Relationships. The ownership of these works has been regulated in different ways by the national laws of each country, and the only attempt of legal harmonization has been found in the European Community regarding computer programs created in the course of employment. The sovereignty and territoriality principles by with each country can enact its own laws in its territory to rule on the ownership question has been applied by countries. As an example, Germany and United States have regulated the subject in their respective national copyright laws. Nonetheless, there are similarities and differences in the ways that these two countries regulate the ownership of economic rights. In other countries, such as Colombia, lawmaker have established a legal rule regarding the ownership of moral rights in copyrighted works, but does not define a clear rule on the important issue of the economic rights in such works. This ambiguity has caused legal uncertainty, raising the question as to whether these types of rights belong to employees, private contractors, freelancers or employers. Taking into account the current issues that can arise in works created in employment relationships, this paper will make a comparative study of the laws of Colombia, Germany and the United States of America.

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