Copyright FAQ

Copyright FAQ

Everything you really need to know about iGERENT's Services

Copyright is the combination of legal rights that are exclusive to those who have made original creative contributions through literary, artistic, and certain scientific works.  Once these are created and fixed in a tangible medium they can be protected by copyright, the aim of which is to protect the expression of an idea of the creator, not the idea itself.

Copyright grants the following rights over a determined work:

a) Right to reproduce
b) Right to distribute
c) Right to perform
d) Right to display
e) Right to create works that derive from the original work over which one has copyrights
a) Right to reproduce:
The holder of a copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce the specific work. They may authorize, limit or prevent others from reproducing or copying the work as a whole or substantial parts of it.

This right is by far the most important right granted to the holder of a copyright, being only limited by Fair Use. 

b) Distribution rights:
The holder of a copyright has the right to determine in what way, if any, access to the work is going to be given or offered to third parties (the public). This is limited to the “first sale” of a copy of the work; posterior distribution of the specific copy previously acquired by a buyer is to be freely determined by the owner of the acquired copy. 

For example: A specific book can only be sold in hardback and acquired in determined stores or locations. However, due to the “first sale” principle, once they have bought the book, the owner of the physical copy may then sell it to anybody they wish.

c) Right to perform:
Owners of copyrights have the exclusive right to perform or allow others to publicly perform their works. Performance from a third party may only be done with prior authorization from the copyright holder. 

For example: If a group of people wish to perform a play in public, they need to have the authorization of the copyright holder. Of course, this only applies if copyrights over the play still exist.

d) Right to display:
Owners of copyrights have the exclusive right to display or allow others to publicly display their works. Third parties may only do so after prior authorization from the copyright holder. 
This right is limited to the following works;
-    Literature
-    Music
-    Choreographies
-    Pictorial, Graphic, and Sculptural Works
-    Images from audio-visual works.  

e) The right to create works that derive from the original work over which one has copyrights:
A derivative work is one that uses all or part of a copyrighted work while adding new elements that are copyrightable.

For example: A painting based on a drawing, or a screenplay based on a book. 

Copyright protects creative works that are original and that have been fixed in a tangible medium. Therefore, works are not protected when they have been merely thought by their creator. These must be exteriorized through a source that allows for others to perceive such creation repetitively, either directly through their senses or through a device (e.g. a record would be the device, the song would be the creative work protected by copyright). 

Is software protected by copyright?

All software is a combination of code (source code) being executed (object code). The unique code that is the base for the software is protected by copyright. Nevertheless, it is important to consider that if your software includes other software or code, these may have open licenses that may lead the resulting code to be open source, and therefore not giving the creator copyrights over his creation.

Some types of software-related innovation may be eligible to be protected as a patent in some jurisdictions, if these are indivisible from an invention that may be patented. However, to check if such software is patentable, you should consult with a specialized attorney from the country or countries where the patent would be applied for. 

Are works in digital formats protected by copyright?

Works that can be protected by copyright will be protected if they are fixed in any tangible medium, even if they are created and maintained in digital format. Therefore, a painting, drawing, article or book that has been created and stored in a computer, but never actually printed, will be protected by copyright just as would a painting or drawing that has been done on a canvas or an article or book that has been published on paper. 

Protection is not granted for the idea itself, but rather for the way in which the idea is expressed. For example, the person who first wrote about Zombies does not have the right to prevent others from using the concept of flesh-eating corpses that walk around spreading panic in their works; however, one will have protection over the storyline and the way the story is expressed.