In much of the rest of the world, artists are extended “moral rights.” These rights are mostly quite non-controversial, things like attribution and credit for a work. The US does not fully recognize these rights despite the fact we are signatories to international treaties that seem to require us to implement these rights.
I was honored last year to have been asked to participate in a symposium on moral rights co-sponsored by the U.S. Copyright Office and the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property at the George Mason University School of Law. The symposium relates to the Copyright Office Study on the Moral Rights of Attribution and Integrity.
Moral rights is a key area of the law of copyright that is sadly lacking in the United States and an important legal tool to protect the rights of artists.
Moral rights (or for the fancy people, droit moral) are largely statutory rights that maintain and protect the connection between an author and their work. (As I highlighted in Artist Rights are Human Rights, moral rights are not economic rights like copyright, but transcend those rights. This is why you see language in the human rights documents, like the Universal Declaration of…
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