Moral rights

The Copyright Act contains provisions that expressly recognise and protect the moral rights of authors. Whereas copyright is concerned more about economic rights of  a copyright owner to control their material, moral rights are rights aimed at protecting an author's honour and reputation.

Moral rights attach to copyright material (eg artistic works such as architectural plans), and are separate and in addition to copyright. They are personal to the author and cannot be assigned to another party. Only individual authors (eg architects) can possess moral rights, not corporate bodies (eg architectural firms). Moral rights last for the same length of time as copyright: life of the author plus 70 years.

Moral rights were introduced in Australia on 21 December 2000 under the Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000. Authors will still have moral rights in material created before 21 December 2000; however, they can only enforce their moral rights in relation to acts that take place after this date.

There are three types of moral rights: