What are moral rights?

in About Copyright

What are moral rights?

Moral rights are provided to creators to protect both their reputation and the integrity of their work.

There are 3 types of moral rights:

  • the right of attribution of authorship – that you are named and acknowledged for your work
  • the right not to have authorship of their work falsely attributed – other people cannot claim that they created your work; and
  • the right of integrity of authorship – this protects creators from their work being used in a derogatory way that may negatively impact on their character or reputation

As a creator, you retain your moral rights even if you do not own the copyright in your work.

How long do moral rights last?

Moral rights last for the same time as copyright in a work, the term of which is usually the creator’s life plus 70 years.

How do moral rights differ to copyright?

Copyright is designed to protect the ‘economic rights’ of copyright holders. In comparison, moral rights protect the reputation and integrity of creators.

As a creator, you retain your moral rights even if you do not own the copyright in your work.

Can I sell or transfer my moral rights?

No. Unlike copyright, moral rights cannot be transferred or sold.

What is an infringement of moral rights?

It is an infringement of your moral rights if you are not properly acknowledged as the creator of the work, or it was changed, or used it way in a way that harms your reputation.

Your moral rights will not be infringed if you consented to the work being used in a particular manner, or the other person’s actions are reasonable.

For more information about moral rights go to:

Copyright Agency’s Moral Rights

and The Australian Copyright Council publishes information sheets and detailed guides, offers a legal advice service and runs an annual training program.  Information sheet: Moral Rights