Moral Rights


The moral rights protect the relationship between the creator and his or her work. Generally they are unwaivable and inalienable. These rights may be restricted in part by contractual agreement.

The right to be credited as author and the claiming of authorship

Authors are entitled to claim authorship of the work created by them. This is particularly important if another person calls himself or herself the author of the work concerned. The true author may counter this by bringing an action for injunction.

Authors are entitled to a designation as the author (credit). The author alone determines whether and in what manner the work is to bear a designation of author. He or she may also forbid any credit (in particular with anonymous or pseudonymous works).

Prohibition of alteration (protection from distortion)

If the work is intended for publication, not even those who have been granted the rights of use may make any alterations to the work – unless permitted by the author. Abridgements, work combinations or changes to the designation of author are deemed alterations.

This applies not only to alterations of the work as such but also to the context where it is used. Here too, the interests of the author must not be compromised. For instance, the use for commercial or political advertising is subject to specific consent.

A right of alteration may be granted by contract. Nevertheless, authors may fight serious alterations (distortion).

Other rights

Right of access

Even after selling the work, the author is still entitled to have access to the (original) work if this is the only possibility to make use of the right of reproduction. However, owners of works are not obliged to maintain those.

Limitations on enforcement

Author's rights are exempt from enforcement, in terms of both moral rights and in principle exploitation rights, but not, e.g. royalty claims. This does not apply to the judicial enforcement of any rights of use agreed by contract.

Example

An author is in default with repaying a bank loan. Subsequently, the bank wants to recover the outstanding amount by seizure. The bank may seize licence payments – such as those by collecting societies – but not the exploitation right as such. This means that the bank cannot itself grant licences. This right is exempt from enforcement.