While it is generally accepted that the author of a specific piece of work is also the first owner of the work and thus the person who holds the rights to that work, there are sometimes disputes that claim this not to be the case.
In such an instance it would be best to consult a copyright attorney as to what the best action would be.
There are some accepted exceptions to the author being the owner of the work. These include:
- Literary or artistic works made by an author when employed by a newspaper, magazine or the like. In this case, authorship vests in the publisher. However, authorship vests in the author for the unused sections.
- If someone commissions and pays for the taking of a photograph, painting or drawing of a portrait
- If someone commissions and pays for the making of a film or sound recording
- If the work was created in the course of an author’s employment, the authorship vests in the employer
If the situation is still unclear, consult a copyright attorney from Smit & Van Wyk Incorporated for expert advice on the topic.