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Exclusive Rights

By definition, copyright provides authors with the ability to guard their works from being taken, used, and exploited by others without having explicit permission. The author of a copyrighted work has the exclusive right to reproduce it, distribute copies (e.g. by sale), to display or perform it publicly, to produce derivative works based upon it, and to authorize others to do so. I need to mention, however, that there are some important exceptions and limitations which should also be taken into consideration. “Fair Use” is one such important limitation. This matter will be a subject to another article though.

For any company that strictly depends upon intellectual property, such as software companies or Internet publishers, copyright law provides a kind of framework to make sure that the company can compete on the market. Let me illustrate this by comparing what happens to an appliance company when an MP3 player is stolen with what happens to a software company when their source code is stolen. Putting it in a simple way, the MP3 player company will just have one less item to sell and naturally a loss at the amount of the MP3 player’s price. The software company, however, may come to face a market flooded with exact copies of its product, which has been sold or given away by another.

With the lack of ability to prevent unauthorized copying, selling, and distribution of its product, the software company will simply collapse.

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