What rights does copyright provide?
Copyright gives the creators of works, and their heirs, economic rights enabling them to control use of their material in a number of ways, such as by making copies, issuing copies to the public, performing in public, broadcasting and use on-line. It also gives moral rights to be identified as the creator of certain works, and to object to distortion or mutilation of it.
The creator holds the exclusive right to use or authorize others to use the work on agreed terms.
The creator of a work can prohibit or authorize:
- its reproduction in various forms, such as printed publication or sound recording;
- its public performance, as in a play or musical work;
- its broadcasting, by radio, cable or satellite;
- recordings of it, for example, in the form of compact discs, cassettes or videotapes;
- its translation into other languages, or its adaptation, such as a novel into a screenplay;
Many creative works protected by copyright require mass distribution, communication and financial investment for their dissemination (for example, publications, sound recordings and films); hence, creators often sell the rights to their works to individuals or companies best able to market the works in return for payment. These payments are often made dependent on the actual use of the work, and are then referred to as royalties.
These economic rights have a time limit, according to the relevant WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) treaties, of 50 years after the creator's death. National law may establish longer time-limits. This limit enables both creators and their heirs to benefit financially for a reasonable period of time. Copyright protection also includes moral rights, which involve the right to claim authorship of a work, and the right to oppose changes to it that could harm the creator's reputation.
The creator - or the owner of the copyright in a work - can enforce rights administratively and in the courts, by inspection of premises for evidence of production or possession of illegally made - "pirated" - goods related to protected works. The owner may obtain court orders to stop such activities, as well as seek damages for loss of financial rewards and recognition.