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Moral rights: works and films

Personal rights for authors

Authors of literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works and films have moral rights in their material regardless of who owns the copyright in the material. Moral rights recognise that works and films can be an extension of the author’s personality and that the relationship between the author and their works and films should be respected.

An author’s moral rights are:

  • the right to be attributed (or credited) as the author of their works and films
  • the right not to have their authorship of their works and films falsely attributed
  • the right of integrity of authorship of their works and films (ie the right not to have their works and films subject to derogatory treatment)

Only individuals have moral rights and these cannot be assigned. However, an author can consent to their material being used in a particular way that would otherwise be an infringement of the author’s moral rights.

Duration of moral rights
  • In relation to works, the moral rights last for the same period as the copyright protection.

    For films, the right of attribution and the right not to be falsely attributed last for the same period as the copyright protection; but in the case of the right of integrity, protection lasts only until the death of the author.

This information is provided as general information only. It provides a basic introduction to copyright and is not intended to be comprehensive.

Reviewed December 2017