3. Copyright

Copyright relates to artistic creations, such as books, music, paintings and sculptures, films, and technology-based works such as computer programs and electronic databases.  In most European languages other than English, Copyright is known as author’s rights.  The expression Copyright refers to the main act which, in respect of literary and artistic creations, may be made only by the author or with his authorisation.  That act is the making of copies of the work.  The expression author’s rights refers to the creator of the artistic work, its author.  It thus underlines the fact, recognised in most laws, that the author has certain specific rights in his creation which only he or she can exercise (such as the right to prevent a distorted reproduction).  Other rights (such as the right to make copies) can be exercised by other persons, for example, a publisher who has obtained a licence from the author. 

Works protected by Copyright are:

  • books, pamphlets and other writings;
  • lectures, addresses, sermons;
  • dramatic or dramatico-musical works;
  • choreographic works and entertainments in dumb show;
  • musical compositions with or without words;
  • cinematographic works to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to cinematography;
  • works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving and lithography;
  • photographic works, to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to photography;
  • works of applied art; illustrations, maps, plans, sketches and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science;
  • translations, adaptations, arrangements of music and other alterations of a literary or artistic work, which are to be protected as original works without prejudice to the copyright in the original work;
  • collections of literary or artistic works such as encyclopaedias and anthologies which, by reason of the selection and arrangement of their contents, constitute intellectual creations, are to be protected as such, without prejudice to the copyright in each of the works forming part of such collections.

[Extracts from Understanding Copyright and Related Rights handbook produced by World Intellectual Property Organization]


You own the copyright to your intellectual property (except where a funding or sponsorship agreement states otherwise) and only you have the right to do whatever you want with it.