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Moral Rights in Copyrights

Moral Rights
Moral Rights


Concept and Recognition

In addition to economic rights, authors possess moral rights, acknowledged by the general law in civilised nations. These encompass:

  • Right of Publication: Author's decision on whether to publish the work.

  • Right of Paternity: Authorship claim over published or exhibited work.

  • Right of Integrity: Prevention of alterations that may damage the author's reputation.

Berne Convention and Moral Rights

The Berne Convention (Article 6) recognizes and mandates member states to provide authors with rights of authorship and objection to alterations. These rights persist even after copyright transfer, independent of economic rights.


Special Rights under Section 57

Although the Act doesn't explicitly mention 'moral rights,' Section 57 grants authors special rights independent of copyright. These include the right to protect the integrity of their work from distortion or mutilation, even after copyright assignment.

Judicial Interpretations

Judicial decisions affirm an author's exclusive right to authorise derivative works and prevent unauthorised adaptations. Even after copyright assignment, authors can seek court intervention to safeguard their work from distortion or serious injury.

Recent Developments

A recent Delhi High Court judgement in Raj Rewal v. UOI raised debates on the scope of moral rights. The court held that an architect's moral rights couldn't supersede a building owner's rights to modify or destroy the building.


Authors can enforce moral rights through various legal avenues, including defamation law for reputation damage, contract law for unauthorised publication, and passing off law for misrepresentation of authorship.


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