Moral rights

There are legal obligations to attribute creators and treat their work with respect. These creators’ rights are known as ‘moral rights’.

They mean you must:

  • attribute (give credit to) the creator
  • not say a person is a creator of a work when they’re not
  • not do something with a work (such as change or add to it) that would have a negative impact on the creator’s reputation

These obligations do not apply if you have the creator’s consent, or if you act reasonably (as set out in the legislation; industry practice can be relevant).

Creators have moral rights even if they do not own copyright in their work. They cannot sell or completely waive their rights, but they can give consent for certain things that may otherwise breach their moral rights.

This information is for guidance only. It is not legal advice.


The Australian Copyright Council publishes information sheets (such as ‘Moral Rights’) and detailed guides (such as ‘Moral Rights: A Practice Guide), offers a legal advice service and runs an annual training program.

28 August 2015

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