What Is Copyright

Glossary > Copyright

đź’¬ Definition of Copyright:

Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works such as books, poems, blog posts, movies, architectural works, plays, musical compositions, etc., as soon as their author/creator has expressed them in a way others can perceive and acknowledge it.

Note: If you are signing a book contract, don’t grant the copyright to your work to a publisher and never mention that it is a work “made for hire,” which legally makes the publisher the owner of your work. Consult an agent or an attorney before signing a book contract.

Related questions about copyright:

What are the different terms of copyright?

When getting into reading everything about copyright, things may become confusing. Let’s clarify at least the general terms.

All rights reserved

All rights reserved is an expression of copyright indicating who holds the rights to a work. The copyright owner retains all rights protected by copyright laws. This means no other person or entity may reproduce integrally or partially, distribute or adapt any part of the work whose rights are protected. The owner of all rights is free to reprint or sell the material. The owner would also be free to use all of the other rights we’ll talk about next.

Electronic rights

The right to publish or allow others to publish electronic versions of your work, including e-books (you may find this under e-book rights). Other features, such as audio or video, can be found under enhanced e-book rights or multimedia. You should check the electronic rights regularly because as new technologies are developed, the definition and the things it encompasses can change.

Exclusive rights

This is a publisher's right to ask you not to publish your work elsewhere at the same time. They can request this for a given time. You can publish someplace else only after this period ends. You can find exclusive rights in ebooks too. Take, for example, Kindle Direct Publishing Select. If you choose to self-publish there, you sign a 90-day exclusivity agreement. 

First serial rights

This gives a publisher the right to be the first to publish an author’s work. After the work is published once anywhere, all the rights get back to the author.

Reprint rights

Reprint rights suggest that the first rights of the work have been sold, and the work can be printed for a second time. 

Subsidiary rights

A publisher’s right to license your work to others. This includes first and second serial rights, audio rights, film rights, foreign rights, translation rights, book-club rights, the right to reprint excerpts of your work, rights to electronic editions and versions, performance rights, and merchandising rights.

Worldwide rights

The right to publish English-language versions of an author’s book in all countries. 

One-time rights 

One-time rights refer to a type of licensing agreement in which a publisher acquires permission to publish a piece of content, such as an article, story, or image, for a single use in a specific publication or platform. 

After the content is published, the creator retains all other rights and can republish or resell the work to other publishers. 

This arrangement is beneficial for both authors and publishers, as it allows authors to monetize their work multiple times while providing publishers with access to high-quality content without the need to acquire exclusive rights, which can be more costly and restrictive.

How do you write a copyright disclaimer?

Here's how to express who holds the rights to a work:

  • The symbol ©, or copyright or its abbreviation "copr." 
  • The year of the work's first publication.
  • The name of the owner of the copyright.

Does copyright last forever?

In publishing, the term of copyright is calculated against the date of the first publication. Copyright for works created after January 1st, 1978, lasts for the entire life of their creator and an additional 70 years after their death.

Legal Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. Consult a qualified lawyer for all legal opinions for your specific situation.

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