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Moral rights in copyright

Written by Saowanee Kristin, a post- graduate student on work experience at Lawdit on 03 December 2013

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An author may not always be the owner of copyright, as this ‘ownership’ can be assigned. Moral rights however, cannot be assigned and will stay with the author or creator of the work.An author may not always be the owner of copyright, as this ‘ownership’ can be assigned. Moral rights however, cannot be assigned and will stay with the author or creator of the work.If you are the copyright owner in a work, you will have economic rights to reproduce the work, distribute the work and to perform the work. If you are the copyright author, you have moral rights in the work. An author may not always be the owner of copyright, as this ‘ownership’ can be assigned. Moral rights however, cannot be assigned and will stay with the author or creator of the work.


Right to be identified as author or director:


By virtue of Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (1)” The author of a copyright literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, and the director of a copyright film, has the right to be identified as the author or director of the work in the circumstances mentioned in this section; but the right is not infringed unless it has been asserted in accordance with section 78.”
The CDPA 1988 states that you have the right to be identified of author of the work if:
- the work is published commercially, performed or exhibited in public or the work (or a visual image of the work) or communicated to the public] or
- copies of a film or sound recording including the work are issued to the public;
and that right includes the right to be identified whenever any of those events occur in relation to an adaptation of the work as the author of the work from which the adaptation was made.
 - In the case of a work of architecture in the form of a building or a model for a building, a sculpture or a work of artistic craftsmanship, copies of a graphic work representing it, or of a photograph of it, are issued to the public.
- The author of a work of architecture in the form of a building also has the right to be identified on the building as constructed or, where more than one building is constructed to the design, on the first to be constructed.
- The director of a film has the right to be identified whenever the film is shown in public or copies of the film are issued to the public.


Right to object to derogatory treatment of the work:


The author of a copyright literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, and the director of a copyright film, has the right in the circumstances mentioned in this section not to have his work subjected to derogatory treatment.
 For the purposes of this section—
- “treatment” of a work means any addition to, deletion from or alteration to or adaptation of the work, other than—
(i) a translation of a literary or dramatic work, or
(ii) an arrangement or transcription of a musical work involving no more than a change of key or register;
and
- the treatment of a work is derogatory if it amounts to distortion or mutilation of the work or is otherwise prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author or director.
In the UK moral rights last as long as economic rights, generally the life of the author +70 years. Unlike economic rights these cannot be assigned, however moral rights can be waived.
Note that there are exceptions to moral rights i.e. if the work is a computer program.
‘False moral rights’ are rights that do not belong to the author of the work and therefore are not technically classed under moral rights but sould be mentioned for the purposes of this article and include:


False attribution of work


 Section 84 states that a person has the right not to have a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or film falsely attributed to him.


 Right to privacy of certain photographs and films


Section 85 states that a person who for private and domestic purposes commissions the taking of a photograph or the making of a film has, where copyright subsists in the resulting work, the right not to have—
(a) copies of the work issued to the public,
(b) the work exhibited or shown in public, or
(c) the work communicated to the public;
and, a person who does or authorises the doing of any of those acts infringes that right.

This article was written by Saowanee Kristin, an IP post-graduate student on work experience at Lawdit

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