Copyright includes financial rights, which grant the author an exclusive right to control the work. This enables the author to exploit the work financially. It is generally prohibited for others to use the work without the author’s permission. The copyright holder is entitled to control manufacture and copying of the work. In addition, the work may not be altered, or copied after alteration without permission of the right-holder. For example, translation of a book into another language, or arrangement of a piece of music requires the permission of the copyright holder. Furthermore, publication of the unchanged or altered work requires permission of the copyright holder.
In addition to the financial rights, the author has moral rights, which include:
the right to be identified as the author of the work
the right to prevent alterations which would infringe the author’s literary or artistic integrity or originality.
Moral rights are assessed objectively, however, the author’s subjective opinion may also be taken into account. Only the author is protected by the moral rights and, consequently, the author cannot effectively agree on further assignment or transfer of moral rights.
Copyright is not without exceptions. When the author sells or otherwise assigns a specimen of the work, the exclusive right to control distribution or exhibition of the specimen in question expires. It should be noted that the expiry only applies to the publicly distributed specimens of the work, and generally only within a certain geographical area. For instance, specimens sold or otherwise distributed subject to the author’s consent within the European Economic Area may be freely redistributed in all Member States of the EEA. As regards computer software, expiration has been regarded to apply only in case of sales of physical specimens containing the software (in practice mostly CD-ROM discs), and not in case of licenses granted.
In addition to expiry applicable to distribution and exhibition of specimens, works that have been published (that is, made publicly available) subject to the author’s consent, can be copied for private use. Private use means that a limited number of specimens may be created for use by a private person or his/her family. However, it is not permitted to sell such specimens. Furthermore, copying of computer software and databases in digital format for private use is always prohibited.
The right of citation covers quotation of lawfully distributed works, when done in accordance with good practice and to the necessary extent. The source must, however, always be mentioned. It is essential that a substantive connection exists between the text being quoted and the author’s work and that the quotation has a factual purpose in accordance with good practice. The connection may, for example, become apparent when the quoted text is the subject of criticism. Newspapers are granted a more extensive right of citation, as they are permitted to copy even entire articles from other newspapers or periodical, to the extent such articles relate to current affairs. Furthermore, photographs of artistic works may be freely used in newspapers when commenting on current affairs, as well as in critical or scientific publications.
A notable exception applies to computer software and databases, the copying and alteration of which is permitted to the extent necessary to use the software for the intended purpose. Therefore, it is always permitted to, for example, make back-up copies or correct errors. Furthermore, it is also permitted to perform so-called reverse engineering, in order to discover the technical operating principles of the software.
The Copyright Act includes other, less extensive limitations to the exclusive right of the author, such as the right of copying granted to libraries, teaching and scientific activities, the right to reproduce public speeches and the right to freely perform other than cinematic and dramatic works in church ceremonies, teaching and meetings where attendance is not subject to a fee.