What are moral rights, who owns moral rights, how long do moral rights last? Ansers to these and many more questions
What are moral rights?
Moral rights run parallel with copyright. There are 4 moral rights: the "credit right" to be identified as author or director; the "integrity right" not to have the work subjected to derogatory treatment; the right not to be falsely described as author or director; and the right to privacy in privately commissioned wedding or other domestic photographs and films.
Will moral rights be exercisable in respect of all works?
No. Moral rights only arise in respect of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and films. The "credit right" must be "asserted" before the right can be infringed and moral rights do not apply at all in a number of instances. For example, the credit and integrity rights do not apply when an employer is the first owner of copyright in material created by its employees and the right of privacy does not apply to incidental inclusion of photographs in other material.
Who owns moral rights?
The directors of films and the authors of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Moral rights are personal rights and cannot be transferred or licensed. However, they can be waived and they can be exercised in a manner dictated by someone else, for instance by an employer pursuant to a contract of employment where the contract displaces the normal position by allowing the employee to be the first owner of copyright in material produced in the course of his employment
How long do moral rights last?
The credit right, the integrity right and the right to privacy in domestic photographs last for the same length of time as the copyright in the relevant work. The right to prevent false attribution lasts for 20 years after a person's death.
What happens if someone's moral rights are infringed?
Provided that the moral rights apply, the author or director can sue and may be entitled to damages. The court has the power to grant an injunction preventing an infringing act. In the case of the right not to be subjected to derogatory treatment, the court may require an approved disclaimer to be made disassociating the author or director from the treatment of the work.
Has there been much case law on moral rights?
Very little, in fact contrary to all expectation when the credit and integrity rights were introduced in 1989, they have been a bit of a legal non-event.
Can moral rights be used to force advertisers to show their agencies' names on ads?
No, moral rights are purely personal and cannot be exercised by companies, even if they are the first owners of the copyright in material as a result of their employees producing it in the course of their employment.