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Durham University

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Moral Rights

Moral rights are a series of rights which protect authors/creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and film directors. Paternity, integrity, and privacy rights only exist in relation to copyright works. Unlike copyright, they cannot be sold or assigned, though they may be waived. On the death of the author/creator/director, the moral rights in a work pass to his or her estate and may be enforced by it.The rights are detailed below.
 
It is not Durham University policy to ask people to waive their moral rights. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the University’s Legal Support team at legal.support@durham.ac.uk.

The right of paternity (attribution)

The author/creator/director of a work has the right to be identified as such. Before this right can be enforced, it must have been previously asserted or claimed, e.g. a statement to this effect can often be found on the reverse of a book’s title page. However, for staff and students, it is good practice always to appropriately acknowledge the author/creator/director of a work, regardless of whether this right has been claimed.

This right does not apply where an employer of an author/creator/director is the first owner of the copyright and approved the publication or use of the work.

This right lasts for the same period as copyright – usually 70 years after the author’s/creator’s/director’s death.

The right of integrity

The author/creator/director has a right to object to derogatory treatment of their work, e.g. alterations, or additions or deletions which might be judged as a distortion or mutilation of it.

Staff and students should take great care, particularly when working with digitised material such as images, not to do anything which might contravene this right: clipping, colour changing and other alterations could amount to derogatory treatment. As good practice not only should the original author be acknowledged but reasonable steps should also be taken to identify modifications to the original work.

This right does not apply where an employer of an author/creator/director is the first owner of the copyright and approved the treatment of the work.

This right lasts for the same period as copyright – usually 70 years after the author’s/creator’s/director’s death.

False attribution

Any person has the right not to have not to have work knowingly falsely attributed to them as author/creator/ director.

This right lasts until 20 years after a person’s death.

The right of privacy In relation to photographs and films

Staff and students need to be aware that when they wish to use a photograph or film that was originally made for a private or domestic purpose they will be required to obtain permission from the party who commissioned the making of the film or photograph.

This right does not apply if the photographer/film maker has obtained a waiver from the individual to waive their moral right to privacy.

Performers’ moral rights

Performer’s rights exist independently of copyright and moral rights in a work. The performer is the owner of their performance and will have rights in any recoding, film or broadcast of that performance e.g. a visiting speaker will have performers’ rights in their delivery separate from the delivered content.

When requesting a waiver of performance rights it is best to consider possible uses beyond the current circumstances e.g. the future use of a one-time guest lecture could include video streaming through the virtual learning environment (duo) for students’ revision or a college websites for promotion.

The right to be identified as the performer

The performer has the right identified as the performer of their performance.

This right lasts for as long as the performer’s economic rights: 50 years from the end of the year in which the performance takes place or, if during that period a recording of the performance is released, 50 years from the end of the year in which it is released.

The right to object to derogatory treatment of their performance

The performer has a right to object to derogatory treatment of their performance, e.g. alterations, or additions or deletions which might be judged as a distortion or mutilation of it.

This right lasts for as long as the performer’s economic rights: 50 years from the end of the year in which the performance takes place or, if during that period a recording of the performance is released, 50 years from the end of the year in which it is released.

Further information

Further information on Moral Rights can be found at JISC Legal

Further information on Copyright and Creative Commons licences.

References

Moral Rights and OERS – Essentials (27 April 2012)

Moral Rights and OERS – Overview (27 April 2012).