Moral Rights are concerned with protecting the personality and reputation of authors, as opposed to the economic rights of the copyright owners.
In Hong Kong, moral rights are conferred on two types of authors:
(1) Authors of artistic work, literary, dramatic and, musical works; and
(2) Film directors.
Their moral rights under the Copyright Ordinance, laws of Hong Kong are as follows:
(i) Right of attribution: the right to be attributed (that is, credited) as author or director of the work.
(ii) Right of integrity: the right to object to derogatory treatment of the artist's work or film which amounts to a distortion or mutilation or is otherwise prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author or director.
Right of attribution and right of integrity last for the same duration as copyright.
(iii) Right against false attribution: the right of artist not to have a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work falsely attributed to him as author, or a film falsely attributed to him as director. This right continues to subsist until 20 years after death of the right-holder.
The rights of attribution and integrity are subject to exceptions. For instance, such rights do not apply to computer programs and computer-generated works.
Moral rights cannot be sold or transferred, except that the rights of attribution and integrity which may be passed to another person upon the death of the author.
An author's moral rights continue independently of the transfer of ownership of copyright.
Moral rights can be waived/ given up. For example, artists are frequently asked to waive or give up their moral rights in a written document.
By waiving moral rights, the artist would no longer obtain the benefits conferred by moral rights and receive a by-line and be identified as the author of his own work.
Infringement of moral rights can be treated as a breach of statutory duty owned to the right-holder (i.e. the author of a work, a film director, or the person to whom a work is falsely attributed). Infringer may be sued by the right-holder.
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