The Moral rights reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Moral rights

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Moral rights are rights of creators of copyrighted works generally recognized in civil law jurisdictions and first recognized in France and Germany, before they were included in the Berne Convention in 1928. While the United States became a signatory to the convention in 1988, it still does not completely recognize moral rights as part of copyright law, but rather as part of other bodies of law, such as defamation or unfair competition. Those jurisdictions that include moral rights in their copyright statutes are called droit d'auteur states, which literally means "right of the author".

Moral rights include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudononymously, and the right to the integrity of the work (i.e., it cannot be distorted or otherwise mutilated). Anything else that may detract from the artist's relationship with the work even after it leaves the artist's possession or ownership may bring these moral rights into play. Moral rights are distinct from any economic rights tied to copyright, thus even if an artist has assigned her rights to a work to a third party she still maintains the moral rights to the work. Some jurisdictions allow for the waiver of moral rights. In the United States, the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) recognizes moral rights, but only applies to works of visual art.

Article 6bis of the Berne Convention protects attribution and integrity, stating:

Independently of the author's economic rights, and even after the transfer of the said rights, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the said work, which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation.

— Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, September 9, 1886, art. 6bis, S. Treaty Doc. No. 27, 99th Cong., 2d Sess. 41 (1986).

Moral rights and visual artists in the United States

In the case of Carter v. Helmsley-Spear Inc 861 F. Supp. 303 (S.D.N.Y. 1994) it was held that the removal of a sculptural work incorporated in the lobby of an office building would violate the rights of the artists under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 stating, inter alia, "that the author of a work of visual art has the right to prevent intentional alteration of the work that would prejudice the artist's honor or reputation, and to prevent destruction of a work of recognized stature." While this case was ultimately overturned on appeal because it was held that the sculptural work was a work made for hire (71 F.3d 77, 80 (2d Cir. 1995), cert. denied 116 S. Ct. 1824 (1996)), it was the first case to intepret VARA provisions applying to visual artworks.