An understanding of intellectual property requires a grasp of the concepts of copyright, author, protected work, duration of copyright and public domain.
Intellectual property protects the original creations of the human intellect, and repays the creator of a work by the mere fact of his having created it. Copyright comprises the moral and exploitation powers given to an author for an original work.
An author is the individual who creates a literary, artistic or scientific work. In some cases, a legal person can also hold a copyright, but may not be considered a creator.
Intellectual property protects all original literary, artistic or scientific creations expressed in any tangible or intangible medium or support now in existence or that may be invented in the future, including: books, pamphlets, forms, letters, writings, speeches and presentations, conference papers, forensic reports, professorial theses and other works of that nature, as well as any translation, adaptation, revision, update, annotation, compendium, summary, excerpt and transformation of a literary, artistic or scientific work. Copyright also protects the title of a work, as long as the title is original.
As a rule, the copyright in a work lasts throughout the lifetime of the author and a further 70 years after his death or declaration of death. Afterwards, the work becomes public domain and may be used without authorisation, if its authorship and integrity are respected. In the case of a specific edition of a work in public domain, the rights of exploitation of the publisher last for 25 years.
Copyright can be transmitted by probate (mortis causa) or between living persons (inter vivos).