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The Copyright Act of the Republic of Estonia came into force on December 12, 1992 (full text: ). Copyright subsists in literary, artistic and scientific works. Copyright does not apply to ideas, theories, discoveries and other kinds of  results of intellectual activities. Copyright in a work is created with the creation of the work. 

The registration or deposit of a work or completion of other formalities is not required for the creation or exercise of copyright. The authorship of a person who publishes a work under her or his name shall be presumed until the contrary is proved.

The content of copyright is formed by moral rights and economic rights. The moral rights of an author are non-transferable and inseparable from the author’s person. Nevertheless, the economic rights of an author are transferable (as single rights or as a set of rights) . The moral rights include, but are not limited to right of authorship, right of author’s name, right of integrity of the work, right of protection of author’s honour and reputation. The economic rights include, inter alia, right of reproduction of the work, distribution right, right of public performance, right of alteration of the work, right of communication of the work.

Since the author has  the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the use of the his or her work by other people and to receive income from such use, copyrighted works shall only be used by other people on the basis of an authorisation (licence) granted by the author.

The term of protection of copyright is the lifetime of the author and seventy years after his or her death. Succession of copyright will be carried out  according to the general provisions of the Law of Succession Act. After the term of protection expires, works may be freely used by everyone without the need for licence on payment. However, some old musical works may still be protected if they have been modified (arranged), since the copyright provisions protecting the works also extend to the modifications.