The copyright owner of a protected work has the right to utilize the work as he pleases and prohibit others from doing so without his permission. The rights given to the copyright owner in a work protected by national laws are often exclusive rights to allow a third party to use the work, subject to the legal rights and interests.
A Copyright comprises two distinct sets or bundles of rights: Economic and Moral Right Economic rights safeguard the author’s or owner’s financial interests if the commercial benefit is realized. Moral rights protect the creative integrity and reputation of an author as reflected in their work. This article will focus on the rights available to the Copyright Owner concerning their copyrighted work.
Economic Rights: Meaning
The owner of a copyrighted work has the right to determine how the work is used and to prohibit others from doing so without permission. Exclusive implies that no one may utilize these rights without the prior consent of the copyright owner. Economic rights, in general, comprise the exclusive rights to:
- Reproduce a work in copies in various forms.
It is one of the most critical copyright rights. The exclusive right to prohibit copying and reproduction of the work is the copyright owner’s most fundamental right. The author retains the sole right to reproduce any work, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, cinematographic film, and sound recording in various ways. For instance, copying a CD, photocopying a book, downloading computer software, digitizing and saving a photograph on a hard drive, scanning a text, printing a cartoon figure on a T-shirt, or integrating a segment of a song into a new song.
The U.S. District Court ruled in U.M.G. Recording Inc v MP3.COM Inc [54 USPQ 2d 1668 (U.S.: District Court, New York, 2000], that recording from a compact CD and posting its compressed form to a website constitutes reproduction. Such an act of reproduction without authorization amounts to copyright infringement of the owner.
- Make copies of a work available to the general Public. (Right to Distribution)
In addition to the right to reproduce the work, the author also has the right to disseminate it. It refers to controlling the distribution of actual physical copies of the copyrighted work in the commercial market. Copyright allows the owner to prevent others from selling, leasing, or illegally licensing copies of their work.
However, there is a significant exception. The right of distribution expires with the first sale or transfer of ownership of a specific copy. It is known as the “First Sale Doctrine”, as addressed in Article 6 of the TRIPS Agreement under General Provisions and Fundamental Principles. According to the doctrine, once an intellectual property rights holder sells a product to which his I.P.R.s are associated, he cannot prevent future resale of that product since his intellectual property rights are considered to have been ‘exhausted’ by that sale. In other words, a copyright owner has exclusive control over the “first sale” of a copy of a work, including the time and other terms and circumstances of the sale. However, once a copy is sold, the copyright owner has no control over how that copy is further disseminated inside the relevant country’s jurisdiction. The purchaser may resell or give away the copy but may not reproduce it or create derivative works based on it.
- Right to Rent work copies.
Another right is the authority to rent copies of specific types of works, such as musical compositions on sound recordings, audiovisual works, and computer program. It was essential to avoid abuse of the copyright owner’s reproduction right due to technological advancements that made it easier for rental shop customers to duplicate such works.
- Make translations or modifications of a text.
Additionally, authorization from the proper owner is required when translating or modifying a work protected by Copyright. The term “translation” refers to the process of expressing a work in a language different from its original form.
Adaptation defined as the process of modifying work to create another work. For instance, adapting (Converting) a novel into a film, or the process of adapting a work for a different mode of exploitation, such as adapting a textbook written initially for university students to make it suitable for a lower level. Translations and adaptations are considered works in their own right. Permission must be sought from both the Copyright owner in the original work and the owner of the Copyright in the translation or adaptation before publication.
- Right to communicate the work to the Public.
The right of public performance allows the author or other copyright owner to permit live performances of a work, such as a play in a theatre or a symphony orchestra performance in a concert hall. The term “public performance” encompasses both live and recorded performances. These include the exclusive rights to communicate the work through public performance, recitation, broadcasting or communication by radio, cable, satellite, television (T.V.) or transmission by the Internet. Work is performed in Public when it is performed in a place that is open to the Public or where more than just the closest family and friends are present. The performance right is limited to literary, musical and audiovisual works, while the communication right includes all categories of works.
In National Football League v. Primetime 24 Joint Venture [(1997) 38 I.P.R. 294], the plaintiff claimed ownership of the simultaneous videotaping of its weekly football games. The defendants uplinked the U.S. coverage of the games to their satellite for broadcasting to and viewing by customers in Canada equipped with satellite dishes. The plaintiffs contended that the defendants’ conduct violated their right to free speech. Accepting this reasoning, the United States Court of Appeals concluded that up or down-linking a work via satellite for distribution to subscribers constitutes public performance or communication.
Moral Rights: Meaning
Authors and artists have the moral right to take specific measures to maintain and safeguard their connection to their work. The U.A.E. recognizes at least two kinds of moral rights:
- The right to be identified as an author of the work (“authorship right” or “paternity right”)
The person responsible for the work must ensure that the author’s name appeared on or in connection with the work where it is reasonable when the work of an author is reproduced, published, made accessible to, or publicly displayed; and
- The right to protect the integrity of the work.
This right includes the right to object to any distortion or alteration of work and any other disparaging action directed towards a work that would be detrimental to the author’s honour or reputation (sometimes called the right of integrity). This right prohibits making any changes to a work that would damage the author’s honour or reputation.
Unlike economic rights, moral rights are not transferable since they are inherent in the creator (though they may pass to their heirs). Even if the economic right is transferred to someone, the author still retains the moral rights to the work. However, in certain nations, an author or creator may renounce their moral rights via a formal agreement, agreeing not to exercise part or all of their moral rights.
HHS lawyers and legal consultants specialized in dealing with cases relating to the infringement of Copyright. The purpose of this article is to provide a general overview of the subject. Regarding your situation, you can seek expert guidance. To know more about the rights protected under Copyright Law, Contact experts today.