moral right (droit moral)
(law) Rights of attribution and integrity granted by the laws of certain countries to the authors of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, as well as to film directors.
Attribution is the right of the true author, creator or film director to be identified as such on the work (such as on the cover of a book or in the credits of a film). In the same manner, non-authors are prevented from attaching their names to the legitimate artistic work of another person.
Integrity is the right of the true author, creator or film director to object to the derogatory treatment of the work or film when it amounts to a distortion or mutilation of the work or is otherwise prejudicial to the honor or reputation of the author or director.
Moral rights are different from economic rights under copyright and other laws that deal with property. In most countries where such rights are recognized, moral rights are perpetual, inalienable and descend to the heirs of the creators of the artistic works. Moral rights are not mentioned in the Berne Convention, but are common in civil law countries (especially in France), but not recognized in other countries (including the United States).
Moral rights include such rights as:
Right of disclosure –The right of an author to have the final decision as to when and where the work will be published ( droit de divulgation ).
Right to withdraw or retract–The right of an author, who has changed his views on a subject, to purchase, at wholesale prices, the remaining copies of a work, and to prevent the printing of more copies of the work ( droit de retrait ou de repentir ).
Right to reply to criticism –The right of an author to reply to a critic and to have the reply published in the same venue as that of the critic.
Moral rights are based on the concept that a creative work is an extension of the author’s character and personality and is therefore not transferable as is a property right such as copyright.
Moral rights generally do not apply to computer programs, situations where the ownership of a work was originally vested in an author’s employer, material used in newspapers or magazines, or reference works such as dictionaries or encyclopedias.