Copyright is the exclusive right of the maker of a work of literature, science or art, to publish and reproduce such work. Copyrighted works include: books, brochures, newspapers, magazines and other pieces of writing; theatre plays and musical drama; oral presentations; choreographical works and pantomimes laid down in writing or registered otherwise; musical works, with or without lyrics; drawings, paintings, buildings, sculptures, lithography, engravings and other illustrated works; geographical maps; designs, sketches and models with regard to architecture, geography, topography or other sciences; works of art applied to industry; and in general any product in the field of literature, science or art, in whatever manner or form it may be reproduced.
No formalities are required to obtain protection of a copyright in St. Maarten. Copyrights are acquired through the mere creation or publication of the concerned work pursuant to the Copyright Ordinance. However, for purposes of evidence, the copyright owner can file the work with the BIP by means of an “I-envelope”, which registration is valid for a period of five or ten years, after which the registration can be renewed. Protection of copyrights lasts for fifty years following the death of the author or the date of first publication if the author is not a natural person.
With respect to the enforcement of copyrights, the following remedies are available, if brought before the Court:
- Injunctive relief;
- Damages; and
- Seizure and/or destruction of the infringing goods.
Furthermore, copyright infringement is also a criminal offense. The following criminal sanctions are available if an action is brought before the Court by the public prosecutor:
- Seizure of the infringing goods and their destruction;
- A fine of up to 5,000 ANG (approx.2,800 USD).