There are four moral rights. Rights only exist in respect of copyright works. (For example, the Beatles' works are in copyright until at least 2006 for recordings, according to the current law of 2004.) If a work is out of copyright, there are no moral rights in relationship to it. (Nothing here is to be taken as legal advice, just a layman's interpretation.)

1. Right of Paternity
Right to be properly identified as the author of the work, (owned by the author of a copyrighted musical work). As a composer of original songs, you would have the right to be identified has having written the words or composed the music. You might even have rights about the packaging used.

The right exists in relation to a work if exploited in one of 5 ways.
* When the work is commercially published (includes Sound Recordings)
* The issue to the public of copies
* The showing in pubic of a film, which has the work included
* The issue to the pubic of copies of a film, which includes the work.
* Definition of film includes videos

If a work has been adapted, and the adaptation is exploited in one of the above ways, then you have the right to be identified as the author of the work that has been adapted. If the arrangement itself is capable of copyright protection, then Section 77(7) of the Act sets out details of how the author is to be identified.

2. Right of Integrity
Right of an author of a work not to have that work subject to derogatory treatment (i.e. to have someone treat your work in a way that reflects badly on the work and indirectly on you).

This right has several hurdles, as it is a matter of the court's "opinion" and "interpretation" of the law. One must establish that the work has been subjected to some form of "treatment"; that is has been added to, parts deleted, or the work has been altered or adapted in some way.

A "win" example is George Michael and a mega mix of George's tracks using 'snatches' from five songs, with altered lyrics. The Court decided this was definitely a "treatment".

On the other hand a "loss" example is when a pop LA DJ created a terrible version of "When Sunny Sniffs Glue," based on the beautiful jazz pop song "When Sunny Gets Blue," by composer Jack Segal. Jack lost his case, as the court interpreted the horror show version as "parody," which is a matter of opinion. It just wasn't Jack's day in court. Who'd ever want to cut the song after they'd heard that piece of dreck?

3. False Attribution
It is the right not to have a work falsely attributed to you.

4. Privacy of Photographs
The final moral right is the right to privacy of any photographs that you commission, intended to protect against unauthorized use by newspapers of private photos. This is the right that many celebrities use as a defense in dealing with newspapers, sometimes used alongside privacy and confidentiality rights, implementing the Human Rights Act.


We lose too many every day.


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(C) 2004 Janet Fisher, Goodnight Kiss