A copyright is intellectual property and if you have a legal copyright then you have the legal right to sell that property. Copyrighted property can be passed on to heirs in a will and you should understand that there are different laws pertaining to copyrighted property in different countries. American writers for instance have different rights under these laws than Canadian writers. What copyright laws pertain to you will depend on which country you call home.
There is an international law pertaining to copyrights that pertains to all countries. Under United States and Canadian laws, an author who creates an original work has full rights to that work. He or she can reproduce or publish a copyrighted text provided they own the copyright to that text. International copyright laws state that a copyright lasts for the entire life of the original author plus an additional 50 years. This means that you cannot reproduce anyone else’s work if they own the copyright until that copyright has expired.
If you want to copyright your material, you can do so without cost. You will have to be able to show proof that this material is yours and that you are the original author. While you are certainly under no obligation to register your copyright, it is highly recommended if you want to show proof that you are the original author. Freelance writers, those who write eBooks and articles, own the full copyright for all of the original works that they create unless they agree to transfer these rights to another party. The original author must agree in writing to the transfer and this allows another person to purchase or otherwise use the works. Authors can provide non-exclusive rights which give others the legal right to redistribute their works and this requires no written authorization.
Canadian copyright laws are a bit different in this respect. If there is no written authorization pertaining to the assignment of a copyright, then the writer who purchases the material retains all rights. These laws can be very confusing and depending on the country in which you reside, they can also be very different. If you are writing eBooks and articles for use in an online setting, it is important that you know your rights regarding intellectual property. Spend some time researching copyright laws for your country or speak with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property rights.
Moral rights are different still. They allow the original author of a text to claim the authorship of that text no matter who currently owns the copyright. This helps authors to ensure that their works are not causing harm to their own reputation at the hands of others. You should understand that enforcing copyright laws can be difficult. If you feel that a copyright owned by you has been used without permission, it may be necessary to contact an attorney with experience in this field. Copyright infringement is a common occurrence and without proper knowledge of these rights or an experienced attorney on your side, writers can often lose ownership of their original works.
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