By: Jaime Israel Dávila Gómez, Lawyer
Contrary to what most people believe, the protection of works in Mexico (literary, photographic, musical, pictorial, etc.) is given from the moment the work is fixed on a material. To give an example, if I write a poem on a sheet, either by hand, machine or computer, from that moment I acquire legal protection; it is not necessary to have a registration.
In the same way, when recording a song, drawing on a canvas, taking a photograph, a work is being fixed and therefore protection is born. This protection covers the lifetime of the author and 100 years after his death; after that time, there is practically only the right to be recognized and respected as the author of the work.
However, obtaining registration of a work is recommended, as it is a piece of evidence that can help in future claims. If a person wants to make a claim to another person or company because they are using one of their works without authorization, the registration will be a very useful tool to demonstrate a certain date in which they were already held as the author of the work. In spite of this, if the author has some other way of demonstrating a previous use, without needing registration, the protection would be given and could prevent the use of the third party and obtain the benefits that the law grants him in this regard.
In relation to artists who generate works, such as photographers, painters, musicians, registration acquires relevance because it allows them to better manage these intangible assets. Regardless of the protection given by the fixation of the work, in certain occasions the rights are risked by not having the registration.