Journal Article

Moral rights and mortal rights in Canada

Emir Aly Crowne Mohammed

in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

Volume 4, issue 4, pages 261-266
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 1747-1532
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1747-1540 | DOI:
Moral rights and mortal rights in Canada

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Legal context

This article examines the Continental notion that moral rights are purely personal which are innate to authors or creators. Within this model, corporate ownership of moral rights is often eschewed, as corporate entities are believed to lack the requisite ‘soul’ that this humanist philosophy implicitly requires. Given the truism that Canadian copyright law is entirely a creature of statute, this paper questions this assumption. I argue that given the contours of Canada's Copyright Act, it appears that Canada's Parliament has provided for a more expansive understanding of moral rights.

Key points

The provisions on moral rights in Canada's Copyright Act are carefully reviewed, as is Article 6bis of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. The article proposes that Canada's Parliament has purposely intended for corporate entities to hold moral rights in respect of photographic works. The article also maintains that the treatment of moral rights upon death and succession also leads to the inescapable conclusion that moral rights are not entirely personal in nature, and could indeed be held by corporate entities (whether under Canada's Copyright Act, or the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works itself).

Practical significance

This paper will be of great significance to any corporation with significant copyright holdings, or any corporation which is used as the vehicle for the ownership or transfer of copyright interests (as in estate planning), since there is now a moral rights element to such transactions (including corporate litigation of moral rights).

Journal Article.  4279 words. 

Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law

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