7. When I sell my work, do I still hold the copyright?


In the UK, when you sell an analogue copy of your work (e.g. a CD, a DVD, a book), you cannot control the distribution of that physical copy any longer (this is called the exhaustion of rights). This means that the buyer may resell or lend that copy without your consent. However, you still hold both your exclusive and moral rights. So, for example, if you produce and sell an album, the person who buys it can then resell or lend it to his or her liking. But if the buyer wants to use some of the tracks in the production of new work (e.g. a video), he or she has to get your permission and credit you, as you still hold exclusive and moral rights.

Also, the exhaustion of rights does not apply to online distribution, meaning that if you purchase something online (e.g. a song from iTunes), you cannot resell or lend the digital copy of that work. Usually in these cases the end-user licence states what you can or cannot do with that work.


Going for a Song

Going for a Song tells the story of Tina and Ben, a music composer and a lyricist who create an original song and discuss how to market it.

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Licensing & Exploiting

If you own the copyright in a work, you are free to exploit it on your own or license the use of it to another party (such as a book publisher). ‘Exploit’ in this context means to develop or make use of it.