Moral rights

Under provisions in the Copyright Act 1968, creators of works have a group of rights collectively referred to as 'moral rights'. These are:

  • the right to be attributed or acknowledged when their work is used
  • the right not to have their work falsely attributed
  • the right not to have their work subjected to derogatory treatment.

These rights remain with the authors of works and cannot be sold or transferred like a copyright, although in some cases a creator can give consent for their rights not to be observed.

Other points of note about moral rights include:

  • only individuals have moral rights
  • moral rights cannot be sold, transferred or assigned
  • moral rights are separate to copyright owners' economic rights
  • moral rights expire with the expiration of copyright.

What does this mean for UNE?

Staff and students should follow standard academic or industry practice, and take care in all situations where the work of another is used, to ensure that it is properly attributed.

Students, as copyright owners, have moral rights in their own creative work, including their assignments.

UNE staff who are creating work under the terms of their employment contract, will have moral rights, even in instances where the copyright of the work is retained by the University. See  Moral Rights Issues and Considerations.

More information

The Australian Copyright Council's Information Sheet called Moral Rights gives a comprehensive overview of Moral Rights.