Many creative works protected by copyright require mass distribution, communication and financial investment for their dissemination (for example, publications, sound recordings and films); hence, creators often sell the rights to their works to individuals or companies best able to market the works in return for payment.
These payments are often made dependent on the actual use of the work, and are then referred to as royalties.
These economic rights have a time limit, according to the relevant WIPO treaties, of 50 years after the creator’s death. National law may establish longer time-limits.
This limit enables both creators and their heirs to benefit financially for a reasonable period of time. Copyright protection also includes moral rights, which involve the right to claim authorship of a work, and the right to oppose changes to it that could harm the creator’s reputation.
The creator – or the owner of the copyright in a work – can enforce rights administratively and in the courts, by inspection of premises for evidence of production or possession of illegally made – “pirated” – goods related to protected works.
The owner may obtain court orders to stop such activities, as well as seek damages for loss of financial rewards and recognition. – WIPO
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