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What is a distribution right?

The distribution right in copyright law refers to the exclusive right of the author or rights holder to make copies of their work available to the public, whether physically or digitally.

It includes:

  • Physical distribution: Printed books, CDs, DVDs and other physical media.
  • Digital distribution: online distribution, digital downloads, streaming and other digital distribution channels.
  • First publication and secondary exploitation: Control over the timing and manner of publication, including after first publication.
  • Principle of exhaustion: in some cases, the author loses control after the first consent to first distribution.
  • Licensing and remuneration: Possibility of licensing the distribution right to third parties, often for a fee.

The distribution right allows authors to control the publication of their works and to make a reasonable profit from distribution.
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