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FAQ on Copyright

What are authors' rights?

Authors' rights cover all the property and moral rights of an author for intellectual work that are foreseen and recognised by the law in force. 

Articles 1 -5 of Act 633/1941 and amendments set out what works are covered by authors' rights. 

Under the current legislation, there are two components to authors' rights:

The right of economic exploitation, which lasts throughout the author's life and for 70 years after his/her death. These property rights may be acquired, sold or transferred in any manner or form allowed by law. The key rights of economic exploitation are:

  • right of reproduction;
  • right to perform, read or recite the work in public;
  • right to public dissemination;
  • right of distribution;
  • right of transformation.

Moral rights do not expire, are personal and inalienable. The key moral rights are:

  • right to claim ownership, that is, to be recognised as the author of the work;
  • right to object to any modification to the work, with all changes having to be authorised by the author;
  • right to publish, that is, the right to decide whether or not to publish a work;
  • for unpublished works, it is necessary to have written authorisation simply to consult the work (e.g. degree theses);

The authors' rights law protects ingenuity of a creative nature. It protects the form and not the idea. Such form must be original and new.

Authors' rights are protected by Act 633 of 1941 and amendments.

Are authors' rights and copyright the same?

Authors' rights and copyright are not the same since copyright is linked to a different cultural and geographical context. Copyright can be seen as the totality of the applicable authors' rights in Anglo-Saxon countries and the United States.


How to become an author?

One becomes an author by creating a work. Without further formalities. In the case of degree thesis it is the degree candidate which has full ownership of the rights of the thesis, not the supervisor or co-supervisor or other figures which, for various reasons, may interact with him during the degree course or in elaborating the thesis.


Which rights does the author possess?

The author possesses all the rights, that is:

  • the moral rights (paternity, integrity, withdrawal of the work from sale) which always remain with the author and are not transferable;
  • the right of economic exploitation (distribution, communication, reproduction, translation, etc.), which may be transferred in part or in whole.

The transfer of economic exploitation rights may take place free of charge or against payment and must be certified in writing. It is worth taking great care in transferring rights indiscriminately to those outside the University.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is copying someone else's work, a part of a work or an elaboration of the work, and pretending it is your own, thus denying the author the rights recognised by law.


Cosa s'intende per contraffazione?

La contraffazione è lo sfruttamento economico dell'opera che avviene senza il consenso dell'autore (p. es. la pirateria discografica o cinematografica, riproduzione dell'opera o sue parti a fini economici).