Copyright FAQ

Copyright FAQ

Everything you really need to know about iGERENT's Services

In most countries only a natural person (human being) can have authorship over a work or creation that may be protected by copyright. It is important to make the distinction between authorship and ownership of a work protected by copyright. Although both titles may belong to the same person (and usually do), it is possible for a person different from the author to have ownership over a work (and therefore copyrights). The title of ownership may be held by a legal entity or company.

Authorship and ownership are two different concepts. Generally, the creator of a work is referred to as the author or originator. The person, company or entity that holds publishing rights, rights to modify the work, rights to republish the work, etc. are referred to as the actual owners. 
Although as a general rule ownership and authorship go hand in hand, in some cases the author of a work may not be the owner of the rights that copyright grants.

For example, in most jurisdictions if someone is hired specifically to make a work, or an employee creates a work for his employer, authorship will still be held by the actual creator, but copyrights and ownership rights will belong to the employer. In the United States, the employer may even be considered the author under determined circumstances.

Co-authorship exists when two or more persons collaborate and contribute directly in a substantial way on a single indivisible work. Although authorship is limited to natural persons (human beings) in most countries, the number of persons that may hold the title of author (Co-authorship) has no limit. 

As a general rule copyrights will belong to the author or creator of the work. However, exceptions do exist.

Who has copyright over works published anonymously or under a pseudonym?

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, of which 168 countries are members, states that if the author has published his works anonymously or under a pseudonym, they still will be the holder of the copyright. However, the publisher of the work will be considered as his representative and will have the power to enforce such rights. Evidence may be presented to show that someone else has been appointed by the author to act as their representative in copyright related matters.

Who is the owner of a copyright if you create a work for an employer as an employee?

The employer would own the copyright over the creation made by the employee hired to do the specific work.

What consequences relating to copyright exist when a person is hired to make a work (“Made for Hire” works)? 

In this case, the copyright would be owned by the one who did the hiring and not by the person who created the work.