Rights of the Copyright Owner

Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Law gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive (the only one and no other) right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  • to reproduce the work
  • to prepare derivative works based upon the work
  • to distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • to perform the work publicly
  • to display the copyrighted work publicly
  • in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of digital audio transmission
  • in the case of a “work of visual art” the author has certain rights of attribution and integrity

Remember, it is both dishonest and illegal for a person to violate any rights of the copyright owner. However, the rights of the copyright owner are, in some instances, limited in scope. Several sections of the U.S. Copyright Law have established limitations on these rights. Unless one or more of the statutory exemptions (a few are described in the next module) apply, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted works in any of the listed ways.
The copyright owner is the person or entity who owns the exclusive statutory rights mentioned above. The copyright owner could be the author, the publisher, or any other person or entity having legal ownership of one, some, or all of the exclusive rights previously described.
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