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What Are the Rights of a Copyright Owner?


Last Updated on June 14, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

A collection of special rights given to creators of unique works, copyright is a potent tool. These rights guarantee the free expression of ideas in artistic works like computer programmes, movies, music, and books. New material is supported by copyright law, which also gives artists rights over the usage and distribution of their works. A monument to their worth, copyright owners are given rights meant to allow them to profit monetarily from their creations. Copyright owners can make money using licensing and sales, therefore compensating for the costs and effort involved in making the original work. Making a living from their work would be tough for many artists without copyright protection.

Apart from economic rights, copyright law protects the creator’s dignity by creating certain moral rights. These rights show regard for the work’s integrity and the creator’s character. Among moral rights are the ability to stop the work from being treated in a way that would harm the creator’s image and the right to have the work properly credited to the creator. In this blog, we will discuss in detail the rights of a copyright owner.

Economic Rights of a Copyright Owner

Right to Reproduce:

Copyright owners have several important business rights that control the use and distribution of their works. The most basic right is the ability to reproduce the work in any medium—physical copies like prints or digital copies like scans or downloads. The owner needs this right to make new copies to make money from sales and licensing. Fair use clauses, however, may permit some forbidden copies, including making a copy for personal use or for purposes like criticism or education.

Right to Create Derivative Works:

Making derivative works is another important economic right. The copyright owner can thus control the production of new works based on or including parts of the original work. A book may be made into a film, translated into another language, or a story’s prequel or sequel created. Controlling derivative works allows the owner to ensure that new versions or changes are allowed and create new income sources. Once more, though, fair use may permit certain unauthorised derivative works, including parodies or remixes meant to change the world.

Right to Distribute:

Distributing copies of the work is another important economic right. This allows the owner to decide how copies of the work are distributed to others—by sales, rentals, or other methods. Because it covers both hard copy and digital forms, the owner has control over how ebooks, digital music files, and other digital property are distributed. Getting the work in front of customers and making money need marketing rights. But under the first sale doctrine, a copy’s owner can sell or remove it as they see fit.

Right to Perform:

Copyright owners also have the exclusive right to perform the work in public. This covers plays, music works, and pictures, giving the owner power over live or digital public performances. It stops unauthorised public shows from taking place that could be competitive with those allowed. The owner can make money by licensing public performances, such as letting a radio station play a song, theatre show, or movie. Fair use, nevertheless, could permit some public performances without permission, like in religious services or in-person teaching.

Moral Rights of a Copyright Owner

Beyond the previously covered economic rights, copyright law also gives writers some moral rights. Moral rights are meant to protect the creator’s personal and reputational interests, whereas economic rights are meant to offer cash incentives for creating new works. Copyright owners have the moral rights of integrity and attribution.

Right to Attribution

The right to attribution allows the work’s creator to be properly recognised. This suggests that the creator’s name must be attached if a work is used or displayed. A book, for instance, must show the writer’s name as the author. The right to credit precludes others from sharing the work secretly or claiming to be the author. It ensures the artist gets credit for their artistic efforts.

Right to Integrity

The right to integrity allows the author to stop their work from being changed or treated in a way that would harm their reputation. That is to say, without the author’s agreement, the work cannot be changed, distorted, or mutilated. For example, an artist’s right to integrity could be broken if a picture is cropped or coloured without permission. The right to integrity also shields the work from being linked with goods, services, or causes that the author thinks are offensive or might damage their reputation.

Moral rights are unique to the creator and cannot be moved, unlike economic rights, which may be licenced or passed to others. The creator may agree to or waive specific uses of the work that would otherwise be against their moral rights. For instance, A writer could agree to make their book into a movie even if the result may not be exactly the same. Notably, different countries have somewhat different definitions of moral rights and enforcement. Strong moral rights legislation protects artists greatly in some nations, including France and Italy. Certain works or writers are covered by more restricted moral rights rules in other countries, such as the United States. Moral rights are sometimes subject to exceptions and limits as well, including allowing criticism or humour that would otherwise be deemed a breach of the right to integrity.

Duration of Copyright Protection

Artistic, Musical, Dramatic, and Literary Works

Standard copyright protection for literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works is the creator’s life plus fifty years after death. Some nations, especially the United States and the European Union, have expanded this term to 70 years after the author’s death.

Literary, theatre, musical, and creative works are protected in India during the author’s lifetime plus 60 years. The period is computed from the death of the last living writer if the work contains several writers.

Sound Recordings and Films

Films and sound recordings have separate protection terms that are determined differently. Films in Ireland are protected for 70 years following the passing of the last of the following: the director, the scriptwriter, the dialogue writer, or the artist of the music used in the film. Sound records are protected for 70 years following their making or 50 years following their public release.

In India, cinematograph films and sound recordings are protected for 60 years, starting on the first day of the calendar year after the year the film or sound recording is published.

Public Domain

Once its copyright period ends, a work enters the public domain and may be used without limitation or payment of royalties by anybody. Because it guarantees that artistic projects eventually become available for others to build upon and include in future works, the public domain is a crucial component of copyright law.

Ownership of Copyright

In general

The creator is usually the first copyright owner of a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work. This suggests that the work’s creator holds the only rights to make derivative works, perform them publicly, and reproduce, distribute, and show them.

Notable cases

The general authorship rule is not without exceptions:

  • Joint writers: A work is deemed joint written by several writers who share equal copyright ownership.
  • Employment: Unless the author has a different agreement or contract giving them ownership, the boss may hold the copyright if a creator creates a work while working.
  • Assignments: Authors can give others, in writing, either all or part of their copyright.
  • Mergers: If two or more writers merge their works, the authors own the produced work in proportion to their contributions.


In conclusion, copyright law heavily counts on the rights of copyright owners, who provide creators control over the usage and spread of their works. Economic rights allow artists to make money and earn financially from their works by allowing them to reproduce, make derivative works, sell, perform, and show them. The creator’s reputational and personal interests are protected by moral rights, which include the right to integrity and attribution. A complicated web of laws, exemptions, and transfer processes can make up copyright rights.

To guarantee they can control their works and protect their rights, creators need to be aware of these intricacies. A copyright owner’s rights promote invention and creativity while offering a legal framework for managing and sharing creative works. Through knowledge of these rights, artists may successfully protect their works and ensure that their uses and sales match their objectives.

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Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.