US—exclusive rights of copyright owners
US—exclusive rights of copyright owners

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • US—exclusive rights of copyright owners
  • Explanation of exclusive rights

Produced by Jeremy S. Goldman, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC

This Practice Note was originally written for Lexis Practice Advisor®, in the US.

This Practice Note summarises the exclusive rights of US copyright owners, namely to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords, to perform the copyrighted work publicly including by means of a digital audio transmission, and to display the copyrighted work publicly.

Explanation of exclusive rights

Although people generally refer to owning ‘a’ copyright in a work, in fact copyright comprises a bundle of six separate and independent rights that are exclusively held by the copyright owner, ie a monopoly over those rights, for the period of time that the copyright remains in effect. Exclusivity means that only the copyright owner has the right ‘to do and to authorize’ others to do any of the six activities enumerated in Section 106 of the Copyright Act. When someone other than the copyright holder engages in one of the activities without obtaining authorisation from the copyright holder, without a license, copyright infringement occurs (unless the user can successfully establish fair use or other defense or exception to a claim of copyright infringement).

A copyright owner exclusively controls the right:

  1. to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

  2. to prepare derivative works based upon the