Client note: What are an architect's moral rights?

Since the passing of the Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act in 2000, the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (the Act) has protected the moral rights of artists, including architects. Moral rights are separate from the economic rights of the copyright owner and are afforded to individual creators in order to protect their reputation and the integrity of their work.

Moral rights can only be owned by individuals.

An architect has the right to be attributed as the designer of a project when it is constructed, and when the work is publicised or represented in print.

Architects also have the right to be informed if their project is to be altered or demolished. Any alteration or demolition of a structure where there has been a failure to inform may, therefore, amount to derogatory conduct.  The architect can require that their name no longer be associated with the project, if they choose. This can significantly affect the value of a project designed by a well-known architect.

The Act allows architects to consent to acts that infringe their moral rights.