Copyright is a branch of law that grants authors ( writers, musicians, artists and other creators) protection over their works. Such protection consists in providing authors with ownership or property rights (or exploitation rights ), which take into account their material interests. Under copyright, authors are entitled to protection against unauthorized use of their works as well as possibly to a share in any earnings from its use by the public.
But copyright laws may also provide protection for another set of interests, of a more personal nature, which are commonly called the “moral rights” of authors. These rights allow the author to claim authorship in her work as well as respect for its integrity.
The protection of moral and material interests resulting from any scientific ,literary or artistic production is also recgnised as a Human Right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Rights(1966)
Copyright is part of the law of intellectual property (IP), which protects other subject matter as well, such as trademarks, patents, desighs, plant seed varieties, trade secrets, integrated circuits, and topographies. All topics that come under the heading of intellectual property have in common the fact that the protected person has displayed an amount of her intellect in achieving the results for which she is protected.
Yet copyright laws do not only aim at establishing individual rights for the benefit of authors, they also take into account the needs of users and of society at large for access to knowledge and information. In order to maintain a fair balance between the conflicting interests, copyright protection is subject to a number of exceptions and limitations. The interplay between exclusive rights, on the one hand, and exceptions and limitations to these rights, on the other, forms the legal framework within which creativity and communication may develop.