Editing Course: Moral Rights and Plagiarism

The following notes are extracts from the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) website.

Copyright Agency Limited
Level 15, 233 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9394 7600
Fax: 02 9394 7601
Email: info@copyright.com.au
Website: http://www.copyright.com.au

What are moral rights?

Moral rights are provided to the creator of works under copyright laws to protect their reputation and their work.

In Australia, moral rights provide creators with three rights:

1. The right of attribution of authorship.
2. The right not to have authorship of their work falsely attributed.
3. The right of integrity of authorship.

This protects the creator from their work being used in a derogatory way that may lead to their reputation suffering.

Moral rights last for the same term as copyright — 70 years after the death of the creator.

Why are moral rights different?

Copyright protects the ‘economic rights’ of a work. In other words, it is aimed at the financial side of things.

Moral rights protect the reputation and integrity of the creator.

Moral rights cannot be held by a company, so the person who wrote the piece retains the moral rights.

What types of works do moral rights apply to?

Moral rights apply to a wide range of works including books, articles, textbooks, poems, songs, plays, film scripts, drawings, paintings, sculptures, musical works, computer programs and films.

What would be considered an infringement?

There are numerous ways that moral rights can be infringed:

  • not attributing a work to its rightful creator
  • falsely attributing a work to someone else
  • producing a falsely attributed work
  • treating a work in a derogatory way (including altering the work)
  • dealing commercially with a work that has been treated in a derogatory fashion

 

However, the creator can give written consent for their work to be used in another way than how it was created.

Other considerations to be taken into account are the nature of the work, the purpose for which it was created, if the work was created while in employment and if there are more than one author. Some of these may not constitute a breach in moral rights if the use of the work is considered ‘reasonable’.

The law also takes into account ‘relevant industry practice’. For example, an advertising team brainstorm an idea for a single advertisement. It would be difficult to attribute moral rights to every person or a single person, so no attribution would be permitted.

Can moral rights be sold?

No. Unlike copyright, moral rights cannot be transferred or sold.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when someone tries to present someone else’s work as their own.

An editor and/or publisher must keep an eye open for two things:

1. Work that is a direct copy of another person’s work but has their client’s name on it.
2. Work that paraphrases or summarises someone else’s work but does not credit the original author.

Citing a work means referring to the creator of the work. This can be done in the text or at the end of the text.

Example:

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
— Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

What is NOT plagiarism?

  • new and original ideas
  • writing that comes from your own experiences, thoughts and observations
  • writing that is written in your own words and your own voice
  • work written from your own conclusions from studies
  • compiled and stated facts

 

What is a copying licence?

Copying licences allow organisations to access information but fulfil their legal copyright requirements. The organisation pays an annual fee to CAL and this allows them to use copyright material as long as it is important to their business.

Go to the CAL website to find out more on copyright licences.

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