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Rights Granted to Copyright Holders

What are the entitlements granted to a copyright owner? The right to:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Distribute (publish/sell) copies of the work
  • Prepare derivative works (translations, audio version of a book, etc.)
  • Perform (recite, act, play) the work
  • Display the work
  • License any of the above to 3rd parties
  • Give copyright away entirely

These rights are exclusive to the author/creator of a work until and unless those rights are assigned or transferred (for example, in a publishing agreement).

Copyright Agreements

Publication agreements commonly require authors to assign their entire copyright over to the publisher in exchange for publishing their work.

  • If an author exclusively transfers all of the copyright in a work to a publisher, then the publisher owns the work. The author may not be able to reuse the work without permission or grant permission for others to use the work.
  • Consider granting a publisher a non-exclusive right to the work (e.g. for first publication). This allows the author to retain copyright in the work (and the entitlements).

Learn more about retaining your copyright: