Copyright and Moral Rights

Copyright is a form of intellectual property which aims to protect the form of expression of ideas rather than the idea itself.  It protects “original” works and safeguards the interest in them for their authors and artists.  In short copyright protects an author’s or artist’s independent creative effort to arrive at the final work. 

Examples of works which may be protected by copyright include original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works as well as sound recordings, films, broadcasts or typographical arrangements of published editions.

Copyright protection arises automatically if all necessary requirements are met.  If they are then copyright protection acts to prevent certain infringing acts such as, for instance:

  •  unauthorised copying of the work(s);
  • Unauthorised distribution of the work(s) to the public;
  • Performing or playing the work(s) before the public; or
  • Making an adaptation the work(s).

The above is not an exhaustive list.  When confronted with such an issue it can be difficult to know what your rights are, if / when they are infringed upon and what can be done to enforce them.  It can also distressing to see someone take advantage of copyright protected works that are the product of considerable time and effort but the prospect of taking action to protect those rights can be both daunting and demoralising.

Moral Rights

Moral rights relate to works which benefit from copyright protection. They are personal rights designed and targeted at recognising the author’s interest in any use of works that they have created. Moral rights are personal rights and not proprietary rights, and they only apply to literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works. They include the right to be identified as the author or director of a copyrighted work, the right to object to derogatory treatment of the work and the right to privacy regarding photographs.

Crucially, moral rights are personal to the author or artist. They can, therefore, be waived but not assigned. As such, it is common for waiver clauses to appear in certain contractual documents such as contracts of employment.

How can we help you?

Whether you are a business, sole trader or an individual, and believe you have rights or that your rights are being infringed upon, Nockolds’ Dispute Resolution Team are here to assist. Our lawyers have experience in such contentious matters and can advise you on your options regarding the copyright work and any infringement in respect of it.

Please contact our team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch.