As a creator of a work, you have two types of rights under copyright:
Economic rights: you have the right to allow or prevent the use of your work by others, and the right to be paid when others use your work.
If you’re the economic rights owner of a work, you can prohibit or authorize its:
- Reproduction, i.e., printing, recording, or copying in some other way;
- Public performance, i.e., performing a play or musical piece;
- Broadcast, i.e., by radio, cable, satellite, internet streaming, etc.;
- Translation into other languages; and
- Adaptation, i.e., turning a book into a theatrical production or film screenplay.
Moral rights: you have the right to protect your non-economic interests as well. You have the right to claim that you are the creator of a work (authorship) and the right to prevent anyone from changing it in a way that could harm your reputation.
Copyright gives creators the exclusive right to use and copy a work for a certain amount of time. After this time, it becomes public domain.
Depending on the country – and its local copyright laws – original owners are protected until 50 to 100 years after their death.