The modern Copyright Act (Cap. 63) of Singapore was passed in 1987 and is based on Australian legislation. The original Copyright Act 1911 of the United Kingdom remains relevant in relation to copyright material made before the current Act came into effect. For a work to be protected by copyright in Singapore, it has to be original and expressed in a tangible form such as in a recording or in writing. Originality simply means that there is a degree of independent effort in the creation of the work. It is not a question of whether the work has creative merit.
Copyrights may be licensed by the owner to a third party. Future copyrights for a work that has yet to be produced can also be licensed. The license can be full or partial with limited scope. A license can be exclusive or non-exclusive. Generally, the original author of the work owns the copyright, unless the work was commissioned by the other party in which case the other party will own the copyright (unless there is an agreement otherwise). Similarly, in case of an employee/employer relationship, the employer will own the copyright subject to an agreement otherwise.