Often people will confuse the difference between copyrights and royalties. Even to those with the correct definitions, these two aspects are often used interchangeably. If you are a content creator, i.e. an author, a songwriter or composer, then it is imperative that you are well conversant with the two terms. They both apply to protect the interest of content creators using traditional publishers to get their idea to the audience. If you have a problem differentiating between the two, then you are in the right place. We will in this article provide with a profound understanding of the two terms.
What is copyright?
As the name suggests, a copyright is just a right to copy. For instance, if you are an author, a copyright prevents anyone from reproducing/replicating your intellectual content for sale without your formal consent. As an author, you become an absolute copywriter owner. Ideally, copyrights are assured by the government to people willing to protect their intellectual property against the following;
- Being reproduced and sold without the consent of the content creator (Author)
- Distribution of copies of your work without formal consent.
- Displaying or performing your work publicly without your consent.
As an author, you have to inform the state government of the existence of your idea. It will then assume procedures to provide you with copyright protection. This way, you will then appear in the public record as the creator of your intellectual property. In countries such as the US and the UK, your copyright will remain active 70 years after your death. Copyright protections are legally binding meaning that anyone infringing on your intellectual contents can be sued with violation of your copyright. I would compare it to a land title deed which is legal proof that you own a particular piece of land. Anyone attempting to acquire it can be aligned in a court of law and charged.
What are royalties?
Royalties are legally binding payments made to individuals (authors, songwriter and composers) for using their copyrighted work. Royalties will only apply when the content creator decides to use traditional publishers to publish and shelf their intellectual contents to the public. On the contrary, self-publishing authors are not paid in royalties as they determine their prices for the books and the profit margins. For instance, if you are an author, then you will receive book royalties from your contracted publishers. Typically, royalties are calculated and paid as percentages of book sales. For example, most traditional publishing companies offer between 7.5% to 15% of each paperback sold and 25% on every eBook sold.
And while the publishers’ primary income comes from the royalties, Authors have a more flexible source of income. They can do consultations, launch products, do coaching to upcoming writers and other things. It is, however, essential to note that royalties paid to the author are dependent on the number of sold pieces. If the marketing and readings organized by the author do not translate to sales, then, the author does not get royalties, and nor does the publisher. The writer must ensure that his efforts yield fruits; otherwise, the publisher may choose to drop your work for another.