The law makes protection available to literary and artistic works regardless of the medium of expression in which they are embodied. For that end, it provides a general chapter which reflects the fundamentals and principles of author's right, including a regime on patrimonial and moral rights and the transmissions and licensing of patrimonial rights. In addition, the copyright law establishes chapters referring to "special" agreements such as publishing of literary and musical works, public performance and representation, production of audiovisual works, and exploitation of works through publicity. Particular chapters also deal with protection of specific type of works such as photographic, graphic and of fine arts; cinematographic and audiovisual, and computer software and data-bases.
One of the most interesting aspects of the new law is precisely that related to software and data base protection. Mexico first recognised software as copyrightable subject matter in 1984. However, until 1991 the Copyright Law of 1956 was amended, adding software as a separate and independent category of copyrightable work. The law as amended in 1991 also imposed restrictions on back-up copying and provided criminal penalties for unauthorised reproduction of software for the purpose of gain.
On the substantive side, the highlights of the new law on software are as follows:
a)software will now be protected as literary works in terms of NAFTA;
b)protection will be extended to the sequence, structure and organization of the program;
c)producer shall be considered as the owner of the rights ab-initio;
d)the bundle of rights shall comprise: distributions, and transmission of the work, rental rights unless where a copy of the computer software is not itself an essential object of the rental; and right to prevent dicompilation, reverse engineering and disassamblance of the program;
e)the back-up copy provision was improved.
As to databases, protection will be afforded as a compilation when these are obtained as a result of the selection and arrangement of its contents. The rights conferred to the rightholder will be to authorise or prohibit the reproduction of the database, and its translation, adaptation, restructuring and any other modification of the database, the distribution of the original or copies of the database, and its public communication.
Lastly, it bears mention that the law provides protection to the data in the databases and the right of privacy of the persons whose name appears in the databases. Also, the copyright law makes express mention to multimedia works protection, and imposes a prohibition to importing, manufacturing, distributing and the use of equipment or services used to eliminate technical protections found in computer programs, transmissions across the electromagnetic spectrum and telecommunications networks and electronic "multimedia" programs.
This article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should NOT be treated as legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought by you about your particular case and special circumstances.