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What are moral rights?

Moral rights are an author's non-economic rights:

  • to be attributed (that is, credited) for the work (the right of attribution)
  • not to have the work falsely attributed
  • not to have the works treated in a derogatory way (the right of integrity).

Who has moral rights?

Moral rights are held by the authors or creators of the copyright work, and always stay with the author or creator.

Moral rights cannot be sold or transferred. They are personal rights held by the author or creator.

The sale or assignment of the copyright in a work does not affect the author's moral rights, which continue.

Are moral rights relevant?

Moral rights can easily be understood in the context of literary, musical and artistic works.

Moral rights are less easily understood in the context of business-related works (e.g. computer programs) or business documents (e.g. marketing plans and business plans).

Nevertheless, moral rights apply equally to computer programs and these business documents.

How do moral rights arise?

Moral rights arise at the same time as copyright arises, that is, upon the creation of copyright material.

How long do moral rights last?

Moral rights have the same duration as copyright.

Can moral rights be waived?

The Copyright Act 1968 (Cwlth) permits moral rights to be waived by authors, either in relation to all moral rights, or in relation to specific acts.