Author: Dr. Fodor Klaudia | 28th February 2020
As I described in my earlier article, copyright grants exclusive rights to the author. I summarized what kind of creations are subject to copyright. In this article I will elaborate the content of the copyright, the specific moral and economic rights, and I will give – as usual – many understandable examples. Integrity, ghostwriting, live concerts and streaming – let’s get is started!
If someone created a work, he/she will be the author of it. As I described in my earlier article, authorship is a matter of fact like someone’s birthplace or mother’s name: this fact cannot change.
Authorship cannot be sold or transferred, and therefore legally it is not possible to pay someone for creating a work and then “obtaining” the authorship on that work.
where people write books, articles, or even dissertations for money, and the “purchaser” of it then claims that he is the author of that work.
This personal bond is not equally strong in other legal systems. In common law countries copyright can be sold, because the economical relevance of copyright is stronger than the personal.
You wrote it, you are the author. Photo: Flickr/Henti Smith (CC)
because this is the point when the work reaches the world and will spread out like a piece of information. If it is a pop song, it will sneak into our head, and will never leave it, as I described in my previous article.
Only the author can give away important information about his unpublished work. If an author dies without publishing a work, and without leaving any instruction about it, the law presumes that the work was intended to be made public.
Once a work is made public, it will rarely be “taken back”. If it reached the people, it cannot be deleted from their mind, it is rather its further use that can be prohibited.
The name of the author will be indicated on the cover if it is a book, at the end of the record, if it is a movie, on a sign at the feet if it is a sculpture.
The author can enforce this, if it does not happen automatically. The author can claim appropriate addition, completion or substitution that serves as a name indication. If a book has more authors and one is left out from the cover, this author can claim that a piece of paper with his name is added manually to the books, even if they are in the bookstores already.
Even if a user has the appropriate license to use a work, this does not mean that he can do with the work whatever he wants to.
Users must pay attention in which “surrounding” they use the work. Distortion can be an inappropriate illustration of a book, play of a music in an indecent TV show, or the erection of a monument in a tiny garden.
Mutilation means cutting out parts of the work that changes the concept, the core message. It is normal to play only parts of a song on radio, but if it is done intentionally to make fun of the author, that can qualify as harming his rights.
Other alterations are also forbidden that harm the reputation of the author.
If a building designed for a museum will later be used as a casino, this can harm the reputation of the architect, who is the author of the design and the building.
Economic rights ensure that the authors can make income from their works. They have two sides.
First, authors have the exclusive right to utilize their own works in whole or any identifiable part. They can exploit their works themselves.
Second, authors have the possibility to authorize others to utilize their works.
Users must obtain a license on every use they carry out (or check the law if there is an exemption). If an activity includes more act of uses in the sense of copyright, each must be licensed separately. The permissions can mostly be obtained through licensing contracts from the respective right holders. (From whom and how – this will be the topic of the upcoming articles).
For the license, users must pay royalty.
Economic rights ensure that the authors receive royalties if others use their creations. Image: Flickr/ Petr Sejba (CC)
Unlike material objects, if you make a copy of a copyright work, the first copy will not disappear, but it will be reproduced on different devices.
Copyright and the copies of the work have a “separate legal life”. I explain the difference by some tangible examples.
If you buy a book and put it to your bookshelf, you will be the owner of the “hard copy” of the literary work – but never the copyright itself. If you download a musical album to your phone from Spotify, you will possess the digital files but will not be the owner of the copyright over the music. If an architect designs a house for you, and you build it, you will be the owner of the building but not the copyright of the architectural work.
This means selling or renting the work that is recorded on a carrier or device.
Distribution means for example selling books, music CDs, film DVDs, reproductions or the original of an artistic works. Libraries do book, DVD (earlier VHS) rental that also serves as distribution.
and has two types.
First type is live performance, when the work presented is not recorded. Artists, musicians and actors contribute to the show with their own performances, like on a music gig, a theatre show or poetry recitation.
The other type of performance is when the works are recorded, the performance thus occurs through technical means. For example, playing a film in the cinema, playing background music in a shop or hotel lobby.
Communication to the public is linear, constructed and compiled by the initiator. The audience does not choose the works just enjoy the program flow.
We all know the broadcast through radio or TV, regardless of what technology it uses (cable, vire, by satellite). Cable or satellite retransmission is also one type of it.
The classical way of broadcasting through radio waves. Photo: Flickr/Allen (CC)
When works are made available to the public, the audience choses the place and the time of the access.
I would describe it this way: the works are in a digital “storage”, and the audience individually picks the works they want to enjoy. In the sense of copyright, the first act is one sort of communication to the public, the second is a reproduction.
In this case users can be authors themselves – the authors of the derivative works. This does not exempt them to ask for permission from the author of the original work though.
The circle of the adaptations is colorful depending on what kind of work we have at hand.
Adaptation is the translation of a literary work, bringing a literary work to the stage, making a cover version or a remix version of a song, re-constructing a building, dubbing a movie, other alteration of a work that results in a work different from the original. If a music is used in an audiovisual work (video, movie), this kind of adaptation is commonly called “synchronization”.
As far as photos, works of fine art or applied art are concerned, the author’s approval is needed for the exhibition of the works.
As I said above
Users mostly benefit from the uses in a financial way.
However, we cannot presume that if the uses are not for commercial purposes then no permission is needed.
For example, someone publishes a writer’s novel and distributes it for free. He says, he does not want to make profit from it, just wants to spread it out, because it is such an important piece of the cultural heritage.
What is the result? The novelist cannot sell the book in the bookstores himself as it is already available for free.
The same happens, when someone uploads a copyright content (a book, a picture or a film) to the internet claiming that he only wants that everyone has access to it.
What is the result? The right holder cannot sell that product online as it is available for free.
No matter if profit is made, illegal uses harm the author’s interest. Photo: Flickr/Bruno (CC)
contact me, I can help you to navigate through the maze.
In the upcoming article, I will write about how to get a license to use someone else’s work.
Billboard picture with boxes: Flickr/judy_and_ed (CC)