Creators' Rights Alliance - Between a rock and a hard place - Appendix 2: Select European Laws
v Menu v


Italian copyright law is largely contained in the Law No 633 of 22 April 1941. The author’s rights recognized by this law include moral and economic rights. Moral rights are non-transferable,[1] but a transfer of economic rights is possible (and must be proved in writing).[2] General provisions of the Civil Code aid interpretation of such transfers. Article 1362 states that the contract must be interpreted not according to the literal meaning of its terms but in accordance with the common intention of the parties. Article 1366 states that the contract should be interpreted in good faith. In light of this, the courts have held transfers limited to uses economically feasible at the time of the contract.[3]

Special provisions exist in relation to publishing contracts,[4] and performance contracts.[5] In the absence of express provisions, an assignment of the right to publish a work does not convey film adaptation rights, mechanical rights or broadcasting rights. Nor does it convey the right to publish the work in a collection, as opposed to individually. [6] The author is presumed to be entitled to remuneration on the basis of a percentage of the sale price of copies, although this presumption may be expressly refuted, and can be a flat fee for certain categories of work. There is a mandatory restriction of publishing contracts to 20 years.[7][8] Publishing contracts cannot be assigned without the consent of the author.

[1] Greece, Art. 20.

[2] Greece, Art. 110.

[3] Decision No 2621 of 10 Nov 1961; in M. Fabiani, Italy, in M. Nimmer & P. Geller (eds.), International Copyright Law and Practice (New York: Matthew Bender 2000, annually updated), ITA-44, para 4[3][d]

[4] Italy, Arts. 118-35.

[5] Italy, Arts. 136-141.

[6] Italy, Art. 18.

[7] Italy, Art. 122.

[8] Italy, Art. 132.

^ Top of page ^