Moral rights

Moral rights are personal legal rights that attach to the creator of a work. They arise automatically in relation to certain copyright works, including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works or films.

Moral rights remain with the creator of the work, who may be different from the work’s legal owner or licensee. Unlike ‘economic rights’ in a copyright work (e.g. to reproduce or communicate a work), moral rights cannot be licensed, assigned or sold.

Types

There are three types of moral rights:
• right of attribution – the right to be identified and named as an author of the work
• right not to have authorship falsely attributed – this includes the right not to have another person falsely credited as creator of the work, as well as the right not to be credited if the work has been altered without your permission
• right of integrity – the right not to have the work subjected to ‘derogatory treatment’ that prejudices the creator’s honour or reputation – this includes, for example, by distorting, materially altering or destroying the work.

Moral rights consent

If someone wants to use a work you created in a way that might infringe a moral right, they will usually need your consent. In research projects, the funding body or partner may seek (or require the University to obtain) your consent to use project material in certain ways. For example, this could include not naming you in a report, or altering or modifying a report for publication. A request for false attribution of authorship is generally not appropriate, but will depend on the circumstances.

If a party is seeking your moral rights consent, it is important to consider what the requested acts are and whether these will be acceptable to you.

More information on moral rights is available on the Legal Services copyright website.

Further information

If you have any queries, please contact Legal Services for advice on 9479 2495.

This article provides general information only. It is not a complete or definitive statement of the law on the subject matter. Formal legal advice should be sought in relation to particular matters.