Copyright Registration in Malaysia

In Malaysia, a centralized copyright agency doesn't exist. Copyright in Malaysia is automatic upon the creation of original works. Therefore, there's no official body that formally registers and acknowledges these creations. However, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs serves as the key overseer of copyright-related issues.

Even without an official registration process, creators can opt for a voluntary self-declaration of copyright. This involves simply keeping detailed records of their work's creation, the process involved, and any related drafts or prototypes. No fees are applicable for this process as it's largely self-regulated.

Because copyright in Malaysia is automatic, registration isn't mandatory. It's inherent in the act of creating an original work. Therefore, there aren't direct consequences for failing to register your work. Nonetheless, having comprehensive records could benefit you in cases of legal disputes over ownership.


In Malaysia, there's no strict requirement for a copyright notice to be present in the work. The absence of a copyright notice does not lead to the loss of copyright protection. However, including one acts as a deterrent to potential infringers and serves as a declaration of ownership.

There's also no requirement for copyright deposit. Copyright is deemed to exist at the point of creation of an original work. Failure to register or deposit a work does not affect this basic principle.


The Copyright Act 1987 is the relevant legislation that governs copyright protection in Malaysia. This law is enforced by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

In terms of digital exploitation, the Act was amended in 1997 to include provisions dealing with computer programs and the digital environment. This has been crucial in addressing copyright infringement issues in the internet age.

As for extraterritorial application, the Act applies to works published in Malaysia, regardless of the nationality of the author. Foreign-owned or foreign-operated websites that infringe copyright within Malaysia are subject to these laws.


The creator or author of a work is the initial copyright owner. In an employment situation, if a work is created by an employee in the course of their employment, the employer owns the copyright unless there is a contractual agreement stating otherwise.

If the work is created by an independent contractor, the copyright belongs to the contractor, not the hiring party, unless otherwise stipulated in a contract.

A copyrighted work can be co-owned if it's a product of joint efforts. Transfer and licensing of rights are also possible, and they usually take place via contractual agreements.

International Aspects

Malaysia is a member of several international copyright conventions, including the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the World Trade Organization's TRIPS Agreement. These international memberships impose obligations on Malaysia to uphold and enforce copyright protection standards that meet international norms.


Recent trends in copyright developments in Malaysia include a growing recognition of the significance of digital copyright and the increasing use of internet regulation to counter copyright infringement. Intellectual property awareness campaigns have also been launched to educate the public about the importance of respecting copyright in both the physical and digital environments.