Moral rights and economic rights constitute the content of copyright. The moral rights of an author are inseparable from the author’s person and non-transferable. The economic rights of an author are transferable as single rights or a set of rights for a charge or free of charge (Copyright Act § 11). The author performs his or her economic and moral rights either independently (for example, by entering into a contract with a publishing company) or collectively through an organization of authors (for example, the Estonian Authors’ Society).
Moral rights of an author
- Right of authorship, i.e. right to appear in public as the creator of the work and claim recognition of the fact of creation of the work by way of relating the authorship of the work to the author’s person and name upon any use of the work.
- Right of author’s name, i.e. right to decide in which manner the author’s name shall be designated upon use of the work – as the real name of the author, identifying mark of the author, a fictitious name (pseudonym) or without a name (anonymously).
- Right of integrity of the work, i.e. right to make or permit other persons to make any changes to the work, its title (name) or designation of the author’s name and the right to contest any changes made without the author’s consent.
- Right of additions to the work, i.e. right to permit the addition of other authors’ works to the author’s work (illustrations, forewords, epilogues, comments, explanations, additional parts, etc.).
- Right of protection of author’s honour and reputation, i.e. right to contest any misrepresentations of and other inaccuracies in the work, its title or the designation of the author’s name and any assessments of the work which are prejudicial to the author’s honour and reputation.
- Right of disclosure of the work, i.e. right to decide when the work is ready to be performed in public.
- Right of supplementation of the work, i.e. right to supplement and improve the author’s work which is made public.
- Right to withdraw the work, i.e. right to request that the use of the work be terminated;
- Right to request that the author’s name be removed from the work which is being used.
The author's moral rights are inseparable from the author's person, i.e. the law does not allow them to be transferred by way of a transaction. So, the author's moral rights can not be sold. However, a licence may be granted for the use of the author's moral rights. The author's moral rights cannot be forcibly removed from the author.
Being the author of a particular work (the authorship of the work), the author's name and the author's honour and dignity shall be protected for an indefinite period.
Economic rights of an author
An author shall enjoy the exclusive right to use the author’s work in any manner, to authorise or prohibit the use of the work in a similar manner by other persons and to receive income from such use of the author’s work, except free use of the work (Chapter IV of Copyright Act).
Main economic rights
- Right of reproduction of the work. “Reproduction” means the making one or several temporary or permanent copies of the work or a part thereof directly or indirectly in any form or by any means.
Examples of reproductions include printing a book, recording a speech or song, making a copy of those recordings, making a copy of the file (including a backup copy), recording a lecturer's lecture with a dictaphone, rewriting the recording manually or in digital form, making a photocopy of an article, saving the article to your hard disk, and so on. Illegal reproduction bears the name “piracy” and such an illegal copy is a pirate copy.
- Right of distribution of the work, i.e. right to distribute the author’s work or copies thereof. “Distribution” means the transfer of the right of ownership in a work or copies thereof or any other form of distribution to the public, including the rental and lending, except for the rental and lending of works of architecture and works of applied art. The first sale or transfer in some other manner of the right of ownership of a copy of a work by the author or with his or her consent in a Member State of the EU or a state which is a contracting party of EEA Agreement shall exhaust the right specified in this clause and copies of the work may be further distributed in the Member States of the EU or the states which are contracting parties of EEA agreement without the consent of the author. An author shall enjoy the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the rental or lending of copies of his or her works to the public even in the case where the distribution right has been exhausted, except in the cases provided for in § 133 of the Copyright Act.
For the purposes of this Act, “rental” means making a work, copies thereof or any other results specified in this Act available for use, for a limited period of time and for direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage.
For the purposes of this Act, “lending” means making a work, copies thereof or any other results specified in this Act available for use through establishments which are accessible to the public, for a limited period of time and not for direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage.
The first sale of a copy of a database shall exhaust the right to control resale of the copy of the database.
Distribution is the sale, rental, lending, gifting, etc. of a work or a copy thereof. Such distribution may take place with the prior consent of the author. Permission to distribute a work is, in certain cases, a single act of intention by the author. After the first sale, gifting or other transfer of ownership of a copy of a work, the author can no longer control the distribution of the work. This means that any person who has purchased a copy of a book or has received a graphic sheet, monograph or CD as a gift from the author may resell or present this work or copy of the work without the author's consent.
- Right of translation of the work. For example, if a poem by an English poet, a novel by a Russian writer or a drama by a German author is to be translated into Estonian, it would require the prior consent of those authors. The same requirement applies to the translation of foreign song texts.
- Right of alteration of the work, i.e. right of making adaptations, modifications (arrangements) and other alterations of the work. For example, if any genre of music by an author of a foreign country who is a member of the Estonian or Bern Convention is intended to be modified by processing it, it may only take place with the prior consent of the author. If a literary work or textbook is to be shortened or simplified, it can only be done with the consent of the author or the holder of his rights (the publisher). In this example, the authors' personal right to the integrity of the work must also be respected. Consequently, any unauthorised reworking or alteration of a work to a different character from the original work of the author infringes both the author's moral and economic rights.
- Right of collections of works, i.e. right for compilation and publication of collections of the author’s works and systematisation of the author’s works. This means that collections of works of literary works, musical works, visual art, etc. can only be issued with the consent of the author, his or her heirs or other rightholders.
- Right of public performance, i.e. right for public performance of the work as a live performance or a technically mediated performance. In order to publicly perform another author's song, instrumental work, lecture, presentation, poem, play, extract from a monography, etc., there must be prior consent of the author.
- Right of exhibition of the work, i.e. right of displaying the work to the public. “Exhibition of a work” means presentation of the work or a copy thereof either directly or by means of film, slides, television or any other technical device or process.
- Right of communication of the work, i.e. right of communication of the work by radio, television or satellite, and retransmission thereof by cable network, or direction of the work at the public by other technical devices.
- Right of making the work available to the public, i.e. right of making the work available to the public in such a way that persons may access the work from a place and at a time individually chosen by them. The idea of this right is to allow the use of a work in a digital environment (online). Consequently, any work, whether it is a musical work, a literary work, a work of visual art, etc., may be distributed on the Internet only if the author has expressly authorised it.
- Right of carrying out the author’s architectural project pursuant to the procedure prescribed by law.
- Right of carrying out the author’s project of a work of design or a work of applied arts.
Last updated: 01.02.2022