Moral Rights

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See also: fair use, copyright
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Moral rights in a work of creation are retained by the creator whether or not the work (or its copyright) has been sold to someone else. Moral rights, therefore, exist independent of copyright.

A creator's moral rights are recognized in common law in Europe, Canada, China, and Australia, as well as some other countries. However, it should be noted that, for the most part, moral rights are not recognized in the United States.

Among a creator's moral rights are:

  • the right to have their work attributed to them
  • the right to have their work published anonymously or pseudonymously
  • the right to the integrity of their works

Most people understand the implications of the first two rights. However, the concept of the "integrity of the work" is more complex. Basically, it means that the creator has the right to prevent anyone changing the work—distorting, mutilating, or amending it—in any way that will alter the creator's original intent.[1][2]

Where moral rights are legal rights, they can have an impact on the legality of fanworks, both in relation to the rights of the original creator of the fandom source and in relation to the rights of the fan creator.

Moral Rights of the Original Creator

[more needed]

Moral Rights of the Fan Creator

Fandom largely acknowledges certain moral rights of the fan creator, including the right to have their works attributed to them, and the right to publish anonymously/pseudonymously if they choose. However, the term moral rights itself is not commonly used in fannish discussion.

Arguments related to moral rights may arise in discussions about Plagiarism, unauthorized sequels and remixes, and reposting of fanart on Tumblr. See also Transformative Work.

[integrity of the work in relation to derivatives ?]


  1. ^ Moral rights article on Wikipedia. (Accessed August 25, 2013)
  2. ^ To give a non-fannish example: in a precedent-setting case in Canada in 1981, Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd., Michael Snow—an artist who had been commissioned to create a hanging sculpture of flying geese—successfully sued the owners of the shopping centre when they turned his serious sculpture into kitsch by wrapping red ribbons around the necks of the geese at Christmas time.