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What are moral rights?

Published 01.11.08 at 13:01

Moral rights are a special set of rights which belong exclusively to authors of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works and to the directors of a film. They are designed to protect the artistic sensibilities of such authors. They do not apply to works created during the course of employment. Moral rights cannot be transferred but they can be waived and authors are usually requested to do so.

Moral rights give the author and director:

  • The right to be identified as the author (as long as the author or director asserts their rights);
  • The right to prevent or object to the derogatory treatment of their work.

There are also moral rights for all individuals, not just authors or directors, which are:

  • The right not to have literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works falsely attributed to them; or
  • The right of privacy in photographs which they commission for private or domestic purposes e.g. wedding photographs.

Content supplied by Briffa


Please note that this article discusses the legal position in the UK at the time of publication. It provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.


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