Moral Rights and New Technologies

Authorship, Attribution, and Integrity in a Digital World

Mira’s areas of expertise include trademarks, geographical indications, and design rights, as well as copyright and moral rights. Photographer: Paul Landl

Glasgow Uni

A Conference sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and with the participation of the United States Copyright Office, to be held at Glasgow University.

Friday, March 31st and Saturday, April 1st, 2017, in the Gilbert Scott Conference Suite, Room 250 at the University of Glasgow, located in the University’s historic Main Building, University Avenue, G12 8QQ. (Location).

Click here to “RSVP” on Eventbrite if you are interested in attending all or part of the event.

About The Conference

The conference will be an international and interdisciplinary event, with participants from more than a dozen countries, and prominent speakers representing museums and the fine arts, recorded music production, and musical composition and performance.

Moral rights protect the names and reputations of authors and artists, and through them, the public interest in culture at large. A term of art, moral rights represent a part of copyright law, and have long enjoyed a prominent place in the copyright systems of the world. The idea of moral rights originated in the courts of eighteenth-century France, and was developed into a full-fledged legal doctrine by German theorists who were captivated by this fascinating new concept.

Moral rights have been universally adopted in the copyright laws of Continental European countries, and have since gained widespread recognition worldwide. Interestingly, the developing jurisdictions of Asia and Africa have enthusiastically embraced moral rights, and important legal innovations on the interpretation of these rights, including novel approaches to statutory provisions, jurisprudence, contracts, and the public interest, have emerged in these parts of the world.

Among common-law countries, moral rights have traditionally been met with a degree of scepticism. Nevertheless, the British courts were arguably the first to articulate a modern theory of moral rights, as expressed by Lord Mansfield in the 1769 case of Millar v. Taylor, suggesting that the doctrine has a place within the common-law tradition, as well.

Moral Rights

 Moral rights are built on the fundamental ideals of protection for an author’s right to attribution as the originator of his or her own work, as well as a right to expect that the integrity of the work, itself, will be respected, and that it will be protected from harm. The rights have the dual character of personal rights benefiting authors, as well as cultural rights that serve to protect cultural heritage, and to preserve historical truth.

This conference will explore the relevance of this historical idea to the modern world, with close attention to the transformation of knowledge, information, creativity, and identity in the technological context, and to the role that moral rights might be called upon to play in a “post-truth” era.

The Potential Role of moral rights in the United States

Through the study of comparative law, creative practice, and technological challenges, this conference will explore the potential role of moral rights in the United States, where enactment of the rights remains limited. This two day-long event will continue a conversation about moral rights that was initiated in Washington D.C. in April of 2016, at a joint Symposium organized by the United States Copyright Office and the George Mason University School of Law, which brought together authors, scholars, and other stakeholders for a broad discussion of moral rights from a U.S. perspective (https://www.copyright.gov/events/moralrights/). The conference will also contribute to the sharing of knowledge in this area reflected by the public study on moral rights initiated by the U.S. Copyright Office on January 23, 2017, and closing on March 30, 2017 (https://www.copyright.gov/policy/moralrights/).

Day 1 will be largely dedicated to the treatment of moral rights in different countries, while Day 2 will focus on challenges to moral rights presented by technological change and the evolution of creative practices in the modern environment.

The countries to be studied will include the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Canada, the United States, and Australia.

Issues of interest will include computer software, “fake news,” identity, pseudonymity, and anonymity, data mining, 3D printing, open access, and the transformation of music, literature, and the fine arts through technology.

The Event Proceedings

Publication of the proceedings of this event is planned. Parts of this event also will also be filmed, and the videos will be made available online.

This event will be open to the public, and your interest is welcomed and appreciated. If you would like to attend all or part of the conference, please take a few moments to register at the following link:

If you have further questions, or would like additional information, please feel free to contact the organizers via email. →