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What Does a Copyright Give Me?

via ntr23 on Flickr

Copyright grants you, as the owner, exclusive rights to:

  1. reproduce the work
  2. prepare derivative works (works based on your work)
  3. distribute copies of the work by sale, rental, lease, etc.
  4. publicly “perform” the work; and
  5. publicly display the work.

If anyone other than the owner of the copyright violates one of these rights, without permission of the owner, that person can be sued for copyright infringement.

If the author or creator was hired by someone specifically to create the work, the work may be considered a “work for hire.” Rights of copyright in a work for hire may belong to the person who commissioned the work. This is true if the work was created as part of a larger collective work (such as a book or movie) or if there is an agreement specifying the ownership of the copyright. If you are a permanent employee, work created in the scope of your employment is almost certainly a work for hire absent an agreement to the contrary.

Copyright in a collaborative work (prepared by more than one person) is jointly and inseparably owned by all collaborators.

By contrast, authors and artists retain their own copyrights in works contributed to a collective work (such as a magazine or newspaper where each writer contributes an independent piece) unless there is a written agreement to the contrary.

A copyright owner can transfer any of her rights. A transfer of exclusive rights must be in writing and signed by the copyright owner. Transfers may be terminated by the owner after a number of years by following complicated procedure set forth in the copyright act.

Back to the #Copyright overview.

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