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What Are IP Moral Rights?

What Are IP Moral Rights?

IP moral rights ensure that creators who have sold the copyright of their works, retain the appropriate credit as the original creator.

10th February 2020
Reading Time: 2 minutes

IP moral rights represent a legal obligation for individuals to treat creators with respect. They allow creators who no longer own the copyright to their work, to still retain rights in certain forms. These works include things like text, audio recordings and performances. The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (‘The Copyright Act‘) protects these rights in Australia. However, unlike copyright, these rights cannot be sold. They exist to ensure creator integrity. Here we discuss these rights and provide examples of their implementation.

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Moral rights of attribution

This right means that whenever the work of a creator is reproduced, the original creator must be provided credit. You will have likely seen examples of this on Instagram, where pages will provide credit to the photographer.

Moral rights against false attribution

There is a moral right to not credit the wrong person as the works original creator. This does not protect accidental acts, however. The false attribution must be made with the intention to mislead. The Copyright Act outlines the many scenarios in which these false attributions may occur. For example, the wrong name purposefully appearing on a movie poster. Likewise, omitting the true creator’s name may imply false attribution.

Moral rights of integrity

This is the right of the creator to have their work treated with respect. In particular, that the work will not be altered in a defamatory manner. For example, re-editing someone’s video to make it appear as if they have certain ideas or philosophies to damage their reputation.

Creators may consent

However, the creator retains the right to consent to any of these rights being broken. For example, they may consent to have their work falsely attributed for artistic reasons. It is common for contemporary artists to do this as a statement piece.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, IP moral rights provide creators with the piece of mind that they retain the creative rights to their works even after they sell the copyright on. However, nowadays with the many platforms that exist online, these rights are broken more regularly than ever. If you are a creator and are concerned that someone may be using your work falsely, it is best to contact a lawyer to discuss potential actions.

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Daniel Fane

Daniel is a Legal Tech Intern at Lawpath. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Business at the University of Technology Sydney. His principal fields of interest are in commercial, corporate and intellectual property law.