I'm writing an essay on Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Age, and I have the following sentence:

DRM is an instrument to protect Copyright, and therefore it should be implemented in such way that it respects the rights of users and [X] alike.

Here, [X] should be a word for the copyright holder that juxtaposes with the word "users". Currently I have "copyright holders", and previously I had "creators". None of them satisfy me because I feel like a composite term damages the juxtaposition effect, and because the creator and the copyright holder may be different people.

What would be an appropriate word?

  • 5
    Perhaps "owners".
    – Xanne
    Oct 5, 2017 at 2:58
  • 1
    Use "copyright holder" or "owner" and don't let worry about how the sentence sounds get in the way of clear communication :-)
    – DanielSank
    Oct 5, 2017 at 3:59

2 Answers 2


"Owner" is the right word; copyrights are property, and that property, in whole or in part, can be transferred. As you note in a comment, the current owner may not be the creator. The copyright, or some of the rights it confers, may have been transferred; or the copyrighted material may have been created as a work for hire.

"Holder" is also acceptable.

See bitlaw on copyright for more information.


It sounds like you're referring to, in your context, those who have created whatever intellectual property: the authors of the copyrights.

  • I point out in my question that the creator/author of a work is not necessarily the copyright holder of said work, which is why something such as "author" is ill-suited. Oct 5, 2017 at 4:20

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