How copyright protects your work

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License and sell your copyright

You can license the use of your work if you own the copyright. You can also decide how your work is used.

You can register your work with a licensing body, for example a collecting society, who will agree licences with users for you and collect royalties for you.

You’ll need to write and sign a document (sometimes called an ‘assignment’) to show a sale or transfer has taken place.

Your copyright can be transferred by inheritance and will be valid as long as the work remains in copyright - check how long protection lasts.

Moral rights

You can keep or waive your ‘moral rights’, which include the right to:

  • be identified as the author of your work
  • object to how the work is presented, for example if you think it’s ‘derogatory’ or damaging to you or your reputation
  • object to changes made to your work

Performers’ rights

You have rights in your performances separate to copyright if you’re a performer.

For example, if you’re an actor in a play you may have ‘economic rights’ in any recordings or broadcasts of their performance, even if the copyright is sold.