Generally speaking, the owner of the copyright in a work will be as follows:
written, theatrical, musical or artistic works – the author(s)/creator(s)
films – the principal director and the producer jointly
sound recordings – the record producer
broadcasts – the broadcaster
published editions – the publisher.
There are certain exceptions to the above, e.g. in the case of works created by an employee in the course of their employment and, in some cases, commissioned works.
Copyright can be bought, sold, inherited or transferred, such that the economic rights (which give the copyright owner the opportunity to make commercial gain from the exploitation of his/her work) in a copyright work may be wholly or partially owned by someone other than the original creator or first owner.
On the other hand, in the absence of a specific waiver, the moral rights accorded to authors of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, film directors and performers (which are concerned with protecting their personality and reputation) last as long as copyright lasts and pass to the rights owners’ heirs on death. These rights cannot be sold or assigned to another person.