Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Bhutan

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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of Bhutan that are relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in Bhutan must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both Bhutan and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from Bhutan, refer to the Copyright Act for clarification.


Bhutan has been independent for centuries, and has never been colonized.

Bhutan has been a member of the Berne Convention since 25 November 2004.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Copyright Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2001 as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of the Bhutan.[1] WIPO holds a copy of the act on its website.[2] The act came into force on 17 July 2001.[2001 Section 2]


Copyright applies to literary and artistic works that are original intellectual creations.[2001 Section 5] Economic rights can be assigned in whole or in part through a formal agreement.[2001 Section 22] Moral rights cannot be assigned during the lifetime of the author.[2001 Section 9]

Literary and artistic works include books, pamphlets, articles, computer programs and other writings; speeches, lectures, addresses, sermons and other oral works; dramatic, dramatico-musical works, pantomimes, choreographic works and other works created for stage productions; stage productions of works mentioned in the previous item and of expressions of folklore that are apt for such productions; musical works, with or without accompanying words; audiovisual works; works of architecture; works of drawing, painting, sculpture, engraving, lithography, tapestry and other works of fine art; photographic works; works of applied art; illustrations, maps, plans, sketches and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science.[2001 Section 5]

Derivative Works are also protected. These are translations, adaptations, arrangements and other transformations of works; and collections of works and collections of mere data (databases), whether in machine readable or other form, provided that such collections are original by reason of the selection, coordination or arrangement of their contents. Protection of derivative works is without prejudice to protection, if any, of works used in the derivative work.[2001 Section 6]


Under the Copyright Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2001,

  • For individual works, economic and moral rights are protected for 50 years after the death of the author.[2001 Section 18.1]
  • A "work of joint authorship" is a work to the creation of which two or more authors have contributed, provided the work does not qualify as a "collective work".[2001 Section 4] For joint works, economic and moral rights are protected for 50 years after the death of the last surviving author.[2001 Section 18.2]
  • For anonymous or pseudonymous works, economic and moral rights are protected for 50 years after the date of publication. If, during that period, the author's identity is revealed or is no longer in doubt, economic and moral rights are protected for 50 years after the death of the author (or the last surviving author if it is a joint work).[2001 Section 18.4]
  • With an audiovisual work, the original owner of the economic rights is, unless provided otherwise in a contract, the producer of the audiovisual work. The co-authors of the audiovisual work and the authors of the pre-existing works used in the audiovisual work maintain their economic rights to the extent that those contributions or pre-existing works can used separately from the audiovisual work.[2001 Section 19.5]
  • A "collective work" is a work which has been created by two or more physical persons at the initiative and under the direction of a physical person or legal entity with the understanding that it will be disclosed by the latter person or entity under his or its own name and that the identity of the contributing physical persons will not be indicated in the work.[2001 Section 4] For collective works other than works of applied art, and for audiovisual works, economic and moral rights are protected for 50 years after the work was first published. If it is not published within 50 years of being made, economic and moral rights are protected for 50 years after it was made.[2001 Section 18.3]
  • A "work of applied art" is an artistic creation with utilitarian functions or incorporated in a useful article, whether made by hand or produced on an industrial scale.[2001 Section 4] For works of applied art, economic and moral rights are protected for 25 years after the work was made.[2001 Section 18.5]
  • Every period of protection defined in this section runs to the end of the calendar year in which it would otherwise expire.[2001 Section 18.6]

Not protected


See also: Commons:Unprotected works

Protection does not apply to any official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, as well as any official translation thereof.[2001 Section 7]

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

 Not OK. There is no provision for Freedom of Panorama in the Copyright Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2001. None of the indicated exceptions or limitations to copyright at Sections 10–17 contain a provision allowing the free use of a copyrighted work permanently seen or found in public spaces, like architecture and sculptures, without the need to get license clearances from the designers of the said public space works.

Copyright tags

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

See also


  1. a b Bhutan Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO Lex (2018). Retrieved on 2018-10-28.
  2. The Copyright Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2001. Bhutan (2001). Retrieved on 2018-10-28.
Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer