Generally, when a developer or publishers creates a work it is created to make money from. For this reason it is important to copyright all material. “It has been estimated that 80 percent of the wealth generally in developed countries comes directly from intellectual property.” Insuring copyright can help protect profits from the work and can prevent others from “stealing” the work to make a profit. If the creator has copyrighted a work, then the creator can prosecute anyone who uses the material without permission. “A copyright owner can recover actual or, in some cases, statutory damages (which can be as high as $100,000 in some cases) from an infringe. In addition, courts have the power to issue injunctions (orders) to prevent or restrain copyright infringement and to order the impoundment and destruction of infringing copies.”
A copyright owner has five rights to his or her copyrighted work:
- Reproduction Right—The reproduction right is the right to copy, duplicate, transcribe, or imitate the work in fixed form.
- Modification Right—The modification right (also known as the derivative works right) is the right to modify the work to create a new work. A new work that is based on preexisting work is known as a “derivative work.”
- Distribution Right—The distribution right is the right to distribute copies of the work to the public by sale, rental, lease, or lending.
- Public Performance Right—The public performance right is the right to recite, play, dance, act, or show the work at public place or to transmit it to the public. In the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, showing the work’s images out of sequence is considered “performance.” Sound recordings—recorded versions of music or other sounds—do not have a public performance right.
- Public Display Right—The public display right is the right to show a copy of the work directly or by means of film, slide, or television image at a public place or to transmit it to the public. In the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, showing the work’s images out of sequence is considered “display.”
Having the assurance that a work is protected encourages developers and publishers to create more works. “By recognizing property rights in creative works and awarding ownership of those rights to the creators of the works, our copyright statute should encourages expression in every art form and medium. It balances the interests of creators against those of the public.”