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Moral rights

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The general perception entails a right as an entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way. Specifically, rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.(En.wikipedia.org. (2017).Rights). If rights include legal, social and ethical principals then the distinction between moral and legal rights would predominantly be defined by their origin.

2.Moral rights

Moral rights are rights of creators of copyrighted works generally recognized in civil law jurisdictions and, to a lesser extent, in some common law jurisdictions. They include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work.

3.Legal rights

Legal rights are legally guaranteed powers available to a legal entity in realization or defense of its just and lawful claims or interests (such as individual freedom) against ‘The whole world.’ Legal rights (like laws) affect every citizen, whether or not the existence such rights is publicly known.


We ordinarily distinguish between moral and legal rights by considering the latter to be a parallel or special case of the former.


A legal right is a right that has been established by the government for its people or citizens, whereas a moral right is a right that has been established by religious, philosophical, or ethical leaders. Legal rights are rights that people have under some legal system, granted by a duly authorized legal authority or government. For example, consumers have a legal right to know the basic ingredients and nutritional profile of packaged foods. Moral rights are rights accorded under some system of ethics. These might be grounded in mere humanity — they might be rights that all people deserve just because they are humans, or because they are rational beings, or whatever. Examples might be the right to be treated fairly, or the right to privacy. If I have a right to privacy, then you (and others) are obligated not to invade my privacy.


Moral rights are equal rights; there is no injustice in how they are distributed. In legal rights, there are many situations in which the distribution of legal rights is unjust.


Legal rights are the things people can do or have unalienable access to as codified in the laws and statutes that govern the land. Moral rights are often codified as legal rights, but not all the time, (David DePriest). Therefore legal rights can be taken from you against your will.
On the other hand he contributed saying that moral rights are the things that people can do or have unalienable access to as defined to the prevailing societal conventions of the time implying that moral rights cannot be taken away from you without your consent while at times any can voluntarily surrender them, for example, people who surrender their bodies to science for experimentation after their death.

4.4. Coverage

Your moral rights are the same no matter where you are. Your legal rights change when you move from one jurisdiction to another.

4.5. Origin

According to David Mullich moral rights are ones that are determined by a moral system — which are declared by a religion, philosophy, cultural values, or personal code while legal rights are those that are declared by a legal body and set as law.

4.6. What they mean

Moral rights describe what ought to be while legal rights are the rights that are on the books.

4.7. As a law

Moral rights represent the natural law, legal rights representing the positive law. A natural is a body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct or simply an observable law relating to natural phenomena. Positive law is statutes which have been laid down by a legislature, court, or other human institution and can take whatever form the authors want.

5. Conclusion

6. References

Legal Rights, by Pavlos Eleftheriadis of Mansfield College, Oxford.
En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Rights. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights [Accessed 7 Sep. 2017].

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