Copyright and Rights of Authorship

On 14/06/2023

Differences between Copyright and Rights of Authorship

Copyright and rights of authorship (droit d'auteur) are often confused, but they are actually different. Rights of authorship is a civil law that protects creators of original works, while copyright is an Anglo-Saxon law that protects works as economic goods. Here are the main differences between these two types of protection.


Rights of authorship apply in civil law countries, such as France, while copyright is used in Anglo-Saxon countries, like the United States. Rights of authorship protect original works, whether they are published or not, while copyright only protects published works.

Protection Duration

The duration of protection under rights of authorship varies by country, but it is generally 70 years after the author's death. Copyright, on the other hand, has a shorter protection duration, ranging between 50 to 70 years after the author's death.


Rights of authorship are automatic and require no formalities to be established. Copyright, on the other hand, requires registration with the copyright office to be valid.

Protected Rights

Rights of authorship protect the moral and proprietary rights of the author, i.e., their right to be recognized as the work's creator and their right to derive income from it. Copyright, on the other hand, only protects the author's proprietary rights, i.e., their right to derive income from it. In summary, rights of authorship and copyright are two different types of protection with different scopes, protection durations, formalities, and protected rights. It is crucial to understand these differences to effectively protect one's works.

How to Enforce Copyright or Rights of Authorship

To enforce one's copyright or rights of authorship, certain measures must be taken. Here are some steps to follow:

To benefit from maximum protection, it is recommended to timestamp the work with the INPI via e-Soleau or on Ziplo. This proves the work's precedence and facilitates proceedings in the event of a dispute. For Copyright, one must register the copyright via a specialized service.

Apply a copyright notice: although this notice is not mandatory in France, it can serve an informative and deterrent value. It signals that the work is protected and reminds others of the author's rights.

Monitor the use of the work: it's essential to monitor the work's use online and in the media to detect potential rights violations. Online monitoring and surveillance tools can be utilized for this purpose.

Pursue legal action in case of a violation: if a copyright or rights of authorship violation is identified, legal action can be initiated to assert one's rights. It is recommended to be assisted by an intellectual property lawyer to proceed with this.

In summary, to enforce copyright or rights of authorship, one must take preventive measures, monitor the use of their work, and initiate legal action in case of a violation.