Michael E. Melton discusses the meaning of moral rights

Michael E. Melton a licenced lawyer from Dunn Loring , Virginia specializes in all types of intellectual property law. If someone is trying to steal your property and use it as their own then he is the man to call.

There are many different kinds of intellectual property and this covers ways in which you can protect your own idea, creation, piece of writing, trademark, brand, artwork or anything that is yours and your idea.

The four different kinds are trade secrets which protect your business secrets from being exposed before you want them to and you can sue if you believe this has cost you reputation or money. Trademarks protect your brand, copyright will protect anything for which you are the author e.g. books or drawings and patents will protect new ideas and inventions.

Moral rights are not as you would imagine them, your morals telling you that it is not fair or right to copy someone’s ideas or work. The term comes from the French phrase “droit moral” and it refers to the ability of an author or a creator of a piece of work to be aware and protect its fate.

It continues to be a difficult term to clarify due to different cultural perceptions of authorship or ownership. It definitely includes the right to produce work anonymously and to not have to put your name to it in an official capacity. It also protects the work from any amendments being applied, unless agreed. It can also give the creator permission regarding where the work or creation will be displayed or stocked. In a nutshell in the US it gives the creator of the work rights to prevent revision, alteration or distortion of the work, regardless of who now owns it.
The law that governs this is called VARA previous to this it was hard to define but was probably covered under the provision of the Copyright Act, the laws of defamation, the rights of privacy and publicity, the doctrine of misappropriation.

There are two sections to the VARA law which will cover two different kinds of infringement. The first one is the right of attribution which covers anonymity of a piece of work, if you desire this and also that it isn’t incorrectly attributed to someone else as its creator or author.

The second one the right of integrity covers any distortion, modification of the work which will harm the creator’s reputation and change the mode of the piece of work. This would include any graffiti or additions, e.g. a pair of spectacles to a picture.

It is also possible to protect moral rights through the copyright act if you can prove that a derivative piece of work has been created, that the piece has been reduced in moral value by the addition. The creator may then be able to sue the perpetrator for defamation. This can also include plagiarism whereby someone has taken an author’s work and stated that it is their own without obtaining permission. This is also classed as misappropriation of a writer’s work.

Author: Jimmy

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