Rights of the Copyright Owners under Indian Copyright Act

The ownership of creative works is granted certain rights and protections under copyright law, allowing the owner to exercise control and reap financial rewards from their work. Economic and moral rights are two main categories that apply to these rights.

Economic rights emphasise the work’s commercial exploitation, including its replication, dissemination, and public communication. Conversely, moral rights safeguard the author or creator’s non-commercial interests, such as the right to attribution, integrity, and the ability to retract their work.

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In this article, we will explore the rights of copyright owners, focusing on their economic rights, which allow them to financially benefit from their creative works, and their moral rights, which protect their non-commercial interests and preserve the integrity of their creations.

Related: 7 Types of Work Eligible for Copyright Protection in India

Economic Rights

Economic rights are the exclusive rights given to the owner of a work protected by copyright to manage its financial exploitation. The copyright owner can make money through these rights through their creative work.

The phrase “economic rights” emphasises copyright ownership’s commercial and financial aspects. Economic rights are listed in section 14 of the Indian Copyright Act of 1957.

Right to Reproduce the Work

In terms of copyright, the exclusive right of the copyright holder to create copies or reproductions of their work is referred to as the right to reproduce.

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This covers adapting the work to multiple media, such as printing books or producing digital versions. Regulating how one’s work is reproduced or replicated is a vital benefit of the freedom to reproduce.

Right to Distribute in the Market

The copyright owner has the right to share copies of their work with the public, whether for a price, free distribution, rental, leasing, or lending. This right empowers copyright holders to control the commercial distribution and availability of their creations, whether in physical or digital form.

Right to Communicate to the Public

The only individual with the right to convey a work to the public is the work owner; this includes notifying the public and making the work available through various media, such as broadcasting, webcasting, etc.

It would be considered infringement if the person who is not the owner of the work shared it with the public.

Right of Adaptation

The right of adaptation covers several rights, including conversion, change, and reordering. There is a right to adapt musical, literary, and dramatic works. But computer software is not covered by the right to adaptation.

Right to Translate

The right to translate a work into other languages belongs to the copyright owner. Having the only authority to approve translations, the owner may regulate and decide how the work is translated and presented in other languages.

This privilege enables the upkeep of the work’s integrity and guarantees that the translations faithfully reflect the original meaning.

Moral Rights

An author’s or creator’s non-economic interests in a work covered by a copyright are safeguarded by a set of moral rights. They are generally acknowledged in addition to, not as a replacement for, copyright-related economic rights.

Since moral rights are founded on the reputation and dignity a work has built and upheld in the marketplace, they are a step ahead of economic rights.

It’s crucial to remember that, unlike the monetary rights connected with copyright, moral rights cannot be renounced or transferred to another party. They’re made to safeguard the author’s or inventor’s reputational and personal interests.

According to section 57 of the Indian Copyright Act of 1957, authors have additional moral rights. Owners have three moral rights that can be categorised as the right to paternity, the right to integrity, and the right to retract.

Right of Paternity

An author or creator has the legal right to be acknowledged as their work’s primary author or creator. This is referred to as the right of paternity. It implies everyone can receive credit for whatever art they produce, including songs, paintings, and written works.

If someone else uses or shares the work, they should adequately thank the author by stating their name or, in any other way, showing appreciation. This privilege guarantees that the relationship between the author and their creation is honoured and recognised by others.

Right of Integrity

The reputation and integrity of the work covered by copyright are protected by the right of integrity. It grants the author or creator the right to stop distorting, altering, or tampering with their work that could be detrimental to their reputation or the integrity of the original creation.

This implies that any changes, adaptations, or modifications to the author’s work that would damage their artistic or creative vision are subject to the author’s right to object.

Right to Retraction

The right to retract, also known as the right of withdrawal, enables the author or creator, under certain circumstances, to remove their work from circulation or to halt its further dissemination. Usually, this privilege is granted when the author’s opinions or values substantially alter or if the work is deemed objectionable or detrimental.


The protection of creators’ rights and the encouragement of innovation depend heavily on the rights of copyright holders. To profit financially, economic rights allow copyright owners to regulate how their works are copied, distributed, and communicated to the public.

On the other hand, moral rights safeguard creators’ reputational and personal interests by ensuring that they are appropriately credited, that their works are preserved and that they can withdraw their creations in certain situations.

A healthy creative ecosystem is cultivated by balancing economic and moral rights, giving creators the freedom to share their work, protect their artistic vision, and uphold the integrity of their works.

By maintaining these rights, copyright law stimulates innovation, encourages creative expression, and fosters a just and equitable environment for artists and their works.

Read Next: Understanding Intellectual Property Rights

Gayatri Singh
WritingLaw » Law Notes » Economic and Moral Rights of Copyright Owners Law Study Material
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