Moral Rights Overview

Copyright- Moral Rights

Moral Rights are derived from the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Moral rights only apply to copyright and not designs or patents.

Moral rights apply to literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works and films (LDMA). Moral rights apply for the full duration of the copyright i.e life of the author plus 70 years, however the right to prevent false attribution is limited to 20 years after the death of the author.

What are Moral Rights-

Moral rights are the rights attached to copyright which cannot be assigned to anyone else but can be waived if necessary. The rights are –

  • The right to be identified as the author or director of a copyright work (known as the right of paternity S77-79 CDPA)
  • The right to object to derogatory treatment of a copyright work (Known as the right to integrity S80-83 CDPA)
  • The right not to suffer false attribution of a copyright work (S84 CDPA)
  • The right to privacy in respect of certain films and photographs (S85 CDPA)

Moral rights do not apply in all circumstances the right to integrity and identity do not apply to computer programs for example.

Moral rights are personal rights but they do not need to be addressed in any commercial deal. It is normal to see in statements of rights acquisition and licencing documents that all relevant moral rights have been waived.

Artist’s Resale Right

This right entitles artists and their successors in title to a percentage of the sale price, net of tax, whenever original works of art in which copyright subsists are resold in transactions involving art market professionals. Until 2006, the right did not exist in the UK but it was implemented in to our law by Directive 2001/84/EC.


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