26th jun, 2012

Moral rights and Creative Commons – friends or foes?

For a few days I have been wanting to share a very good post at the 1709 blog about moral rights and Creative Commons.

 The post “Getting Paid is a Moral Right, too! Why Creative Commons Gets it Wrong” by Professor Mira T. Sundara Rajan describes the relationship between moral rights not recognized in the US and the CC license. It has spurred some pretty sharp comments, criticizing the post, but is worth a read. Rajans point is that the moral rights could “involve a degree of fundamental conflict for the Creative Commons movement, since the very idea of the movement is to create a realm where works can be “freely” disseminated.” In Denmark it is not possible for an artist to generally waive his or her moral rights – although it is of course possible for the artist to refrain from enforcing them. Creative Commons does have one aspect of moral rights namely the Attribution license. What remains is the right to resist offending changes or uses of the work. The creator of a CC protected drawing could in some cases resist the use of that drawing to promote a political view.

In the post Rajan connects moral rights to the artist’s possibility to make money from his art. I’m not sure I follow her reasoning on this point. In my opinion the artist’s possibility to make money from his art is bound to the copyright. An economic right coming from the moral rights is a derived right as I see it. The right to be named is the possibility for being famous and make money from your fame. That right is linked to your moral rights but would exist if the moral rights didn’t. Professor Mira T. Sundara Rajan has also written a very good article on moral rights and CC available (for free) here.

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