Arts Law Information Sheet

Moral rights


Moral rights protect the personal relationship between a creator and their work even if the creator no longer owns the work, or the copyright in the work. Moral rights concern the creator’s right to be properly attributed or credited, and the protection of their work from derogatory treatment. 

In this information sheet:

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This information sheet can be read in conjunction with another Arts Law resource, Moral rights infringement and letter of demand. Moral rights were introduced into the Copyright Act in 2000 to confer certain protections on creators and authors irrespective of any economic interest in their creation. This information sheet provides basic information on moral rights and their significance for creators and authors. See the Arts Law information sheet, Copyright for the relevant background information.

Moral rights cannot be bought or assigned (i.e. sold). They belong to an author regardless of whether they are the copyright owner. Moral rights apply to artistic, literary, dramatic and musical works and films. Performers also have limited moral rights in their live or recorded performances. See the Arts Law information sheet, Performers' rights for more information.

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The information in this information sheet is general. It does not constitute, and should be not relied on as, legal advice. The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) recommends seeking advice from a qualified lawyer on the legal issues affecting you before acting on any legal matter.

While Arts Law tries to ensure that the content of this information sheet is accurate, adequate or complete, it does not represent or warrant its accuracy, adequacy or completeness. Arts Law is not responsible for any loss suffered as a result of or in relation to the use of this information sheet. To the extent permitted by law, Arts Law excludes any liability, including any liability for negligence, for any loss, including indirect or consequential damages arising from or in relation to the use of this information sheet.

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The Arts Law Centre of Australia has been assisted by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Australian Government - Australia Council for the Arts