Copyright relates to literary and artistic creations, such as books, music, paintings and sculptures, films and technology-based works (such as computer programs and electronic databases). In certain languages, copyright is referred to as authors’ rights. Although international law has brought about some convergence, this distinction reflects an historic difference in the evolution of these rights that is still reflected in many copyright systems.

The expression copyright refers to the act of copying an original work which, in respect of literary and artistic creations, may be done only by the author or with the author’s permission. The expression authors’ rights refers to the creator of an artistic work, its author, thus underlining that, as recognized in most laws, authors have certain specific rights in their creations that only they can exercise, which are often referred to as moral rights, such as the right to prevent distorted reproductions of the work. Other rights, such as the right to make copies, can be exercised by third parties with the author’s permission, for example, by a publisher who obtains a license to this effect from the author.

Copyright protects two types of rights. Economic rights allow right owners to derive financial reward from the use of their works by others. Moral rights allow authors and creators to take certain actions to preserve and protect their link with their work. The author or creator may be the owner of the economic rights or those rights may be transferred to one or more copyright owners. Many countries do not allow the transfer of moral rights.

Related rights, also referred to as neighboring rights, protect the legal interests of certain persons and legal entities that contribute to making works available to the public or that produce subject matter which, while not qualifying as works under the copyright systems of all countries, contains sufficient creativity or technical and organizational skill to justify recognition

Of a copyright-like property right. The law of related rights deems that the productions that result from the activities of such persons and entities merit legal protection as they are related to the protection of works of authorship under copyright. Some laws make clear, however, that the exercise of related rights should leave intact, and in no way affect, the protection of copyright. Traditionally, related rights have been granted to three categories of beneficiaries:

  • Performers;
  • Producers of sound recordings (also referred to as phonograms); and
  • broadcasting

The rights of performers are recognized because their creative Intervention is necessary to give life to, for example, motion Pictures or musical, dramatic and choreographic works, and Because they have a justifiable interest in the legal protection of their individual interpretations. The rights of producers of sound recordings are recognized because their creative, financial and organizational resources are necessary to make sound recordings, often based on musical works, available to the public in commercial form, and because of their legitimate interest in having the legal resources to take action against unauthorized uses be this the making and distribution of unauthorized copies (piracy) or the unauthorized broadcasting or communication to the public of their sound recordings. Likewise, the rights of broadcasting organizations are recognized because of their role in making works available to the public, and in light of their justified interest in controlling the transmission and retransmission of their broadcasts.