Copyright Basics

Moral rights

What are moral rights?

Moral Rights are personal rights granted to authors of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and films.

Moral rights are:

  • the right of attribution of authorship. The author has the right to be identified as the author of the work or film when it is presented to the public. The attribution must be reasonably clear and prominent.
  • the rights against false attribution of authorship. The author has the right not to have their work attributed falsely to someone else and not to have an altered work being attributed as unaltered.
  • the right of integrity of authorship. The author has the right to have the integrity of their work respected and not subjected to derogatory treatment. A treatment is derogatory if it in some way prejudicially affects the honour or reputation of the author.

Who has moral rights?

Moral rights are granted to authors of:

Dealing with moral rights

In order to avoid moral rights infringements, educational institutions should:

  • attribute the author of the work or film where reasonable. For example, crediting the name of the author and title of the work on material that is reproduced or communicated to the public
  • attribute authors of musical and dramatic works where the works are performed at concerts and other performances either in the program or by announcement
  • not alter, add to, crop, edit, change, distort or mutilate the work or film of the author unless it is reasonable in the circumstances and
  •  obtain a written consent to such acts or omissions that would otherwise infringe the author’s moral rights. Consents should be addressed in all contracts that deal with copyright material such as commission or freelance agreements, employment agreements and licence agreements.