In an earlier post about patent ownership, I mentioned that there are different dispositions regarding ownership of Intellectual Property in the Dominican Republic. The Law No. 65-00 about Copyright determines that the author is the individual (human being) that is identified as such. The State and other public as well as private entities may only exercise the author’s rights and neighboring rights as derived owners.
Before enlisting in which cases the person is an author and an owner, it is necessary to point out that the author always have moral rights over the work (since they are nontransferable and inalienable), meaning he/she will always have the right:
- To be identify as the author
- To oppose modifications of the work that harm his/her honor or reputation or diminish its merit
- To keep anonymity (if chosen)
- Not to publish the work (if ordered)
While the owner is the one that enjoys the economic rights of the work, and may be the author or any other person that he/she has appointed. These economic rights give the prerogative to permit or prohibit:
- Reproduction of the work
- Translation of the work
- Modification tothe work
- Inclusion of the work in another work
- Distribution of the work
- Communication to the public of the work
And now, the important question:
Who is the author and who is the owner?
- For divisible collaborative works: in which the authors have collaborated in a manner that may be divided, each person is author and owner of his/her part.
- For indivisible collaborative works: in which the authors have collaborated in a way that may not be divided, everyone is coauthor and co-owner of the entire work.
- For works of private employees: in the work created under employment the author and owner is the employee, however the employer and employee may agree otherwise.
- For works of public employees: the work created in the course of their duties will be of their authorship, however, the owner is presumed to be the public entity, unless otherwise agreed.
- For works sponsored by public entities: if they have educative purposes or are the result of scientific researches, the moral and economic rights will be for the authors.
- For works for hire: the author is the creator and the contracting party may only use the work in the manner that has been authorized by him/her.
- For collective works: the authors are the creators, nonetheless, the owner is the one that publishes or makes the work available to the public.
In most cases the author keeps the ownership of the work, but has the faculty to transfer these economic rights to anyone else.