Moral rights of an author

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 Moral rights are rights that the creator of a work is automatically entitled to and which no one else can even remain with the creator after their death.

 Moral rights are rights of creators of copyrighted works generally recognized in civil law jurisdictions and, to a lesser extent in some common law jurisdictions. They include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work.

 the concept of moral rights thus relies on the connection between an author and her creation. Moral rights protect the personal and reputational, rather than purely monetary, value of a work to its creator.


Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27(2)

Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literacy or artistic production of which he is the author. When an artist creates, he conveyshis view point. Whether it is in the form of a painting, a photograph, a motion picture or in any written form, that view point is of the artist, by the artist, and must be protected. In this, who and what entity financed or provided the means for its production should have no bearing and no relevance to the determination of ownership in the opinion produced.Moral rights are representative of social values concerning authorship, creativity and artistic work. They are based on a belief that artistic creation is something more than an attempt to earn a livelihood.

Moral rights flow from the fact that a literary or artistic work reflects the personality of the creator, just as much as the economic rights reflect the author’s need to keep body and soul together. The creativity impulse and the work are of value to society, through his work, the artist provides an important service to society. By recognizing these aspects of artistic life, moral rights bring a culture focus to copyright law. Moral rights or ‘droit moral’ originated in French law. The Rome Act of 1928 added the droit moral to the Bern convention of 1886. Droit moral was added to the Berne Convention of 1886 under Article 6B which mandates all the signatories to provide them to the true authors piece of work.

Article 6bis(1) of the Berne Convention:

Independently of the author’s economic rights, and even after the transfer of the said rights, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the said work, which would be prejudicial to his honour or reputation.

The Copyright Act, 1957 contemplates certain special rights which reflect upon the personality and character of an author of a piece of work. These rights are termed as Moral Rights or Droit Moral of an author and are protected under the Copyright Act, 1957. These rights are vested in the author by the virtue of the fact that he is the true creator of the work. Under Section 57 of the Copyright Act,1957; an author has the right to claim the authorship of the work. He has also right to for restraining the infringement or to claim damages under Section55. The term "moral rights" is a translation of the French term "droit moral," and refers not to "morals" as advocated by the religious right, but rather to the ability of authors to control the eventual fate of their works. An author is said to have the "moral right" to control her work. The concept of moral rights thus relies on the connection between an author and her creation. Moral rights protect the personal and reputational, rather than purely monetary, value of a work.


Moral rights were first recognized in France and Germany before they were included inBerne convention for the protection of literacy and artistic works in 1928.Canada recognizes moral rights (droits moraux) in its Copyright Act. The United States became a signatory to the convention in 1989 and incorporated a version of moral rights under its copyright law under Title 17 of the U.S. Code. Some jurisdictions allow for the wavier of moral rights. In the United States, the visual artists right act (1990) recognizes moral rights but applies only to a narrow subset of works of visual arts.

Some jurisdictions like Austria differentiate between narrow and wide moral rights. Whilst the former is about integrity of the work, the latter limits usages, which may harm the author's integrity. Some copyright timestamp services allow to publish but (not) allowed usage intentions of the author to prevent a violation of such wider moral rights.

Indian Position on moral Rights: -

In Indian copyright Act, 1957, the provision related to moral rights has been given. Indian copyright does not directly provide moral rights to the author but it provides special right to author, that are moral rights. These rights are independent and parallel of the author’s economic rights. This provision is based on Article 6 bis of Berne Convention. The language of section 57 is of wide aptitude and includes not just literary works but also visual and audio manifestations. The moral rights are as follows: -

1. Paternity right (right to claim authorship of the work)

2. The integrity right (the right to protect his honour and reputation)

3. A general right (not to have a work falsely attributed to him)

The commissioner’s right of privacy in respect of photograph or film made firstly private and domestic purpose. Under section 57 of Indian copyright, on author has the right to claim the authorship of the work. He has also right to for restraining the infringement or to claim damages under section55. The special protection of the copyright can be claimed even after the assignment of the copyright. It is a statutory recognition of the special care with which the intellectual property is protected. The provisionof section 57 states that the author will not have the right to restrain or claim damages in respect of any adaptation of a computer programme by a lawful possessor of a copy of a computer programme, to utilise the computer programme for which it was supplied and to make backup copies as a temporary protection against loss. By the provision, this section also confers the special rights on the authors of computer programmes. Cases related to moral rights of author

MannuBhandari vs. Kala Vikas Pictures Ltd

In Manu Bhandari case, the dispute related to author’s moral right came before the court. In this case the plaintiff, MannuBhandari is author of Hindi novel ‘AapkaBunty’ she assigned her some rights in raised objection about the title of the film which was resolved by the parties and the end of the film.

In the end of the novel the child was admitted in hostel by his natural father while in the film it was showed that the child died of starvation, the author said that it was against her integrity and honour. It was held that the contract of assignment has to be read subject to the provisions of section 5.

K.P.M.Sundaram Vs. Rattan PrakashanMandir

The plaintiff had instituted the suit against the defendants for injunction restraining them from prompting, publishing and the specified books, rendition and accounts for the illegal gains made by the defendants for all unauthorized publications and for damages under the provisions of section 5 and 57 of copyright act. The plaintiff had granted sole and exclusive right to print, publish and sell the work. In last clause it was further sole and exclusive right to print, publish and sell the work. Prima facie it was held that it did not assignee the copyright but created a revocable license in favour of defendants to publish and sell the works and the balance of favour to show the same. The defendant was restrained from printing. Publishing and selling the plaintiff till the disposal of suit.