FAQ about Copyright System of Japan

What are moral rights of an author?

In general, an author of a work has non-pecuniary interests in his/her work, which refer to moral interests of the author. That is, the author has the rights to protect his/her moral interests as well as the rights to protect his/her economic interests. The former are often called moral rights and the latter copyrights.

The moral rights include, among others, the following rights; the right to decide whether his/her work should be made public in the first place, the right to claim authorship, and the right to object against any use that can be regarded as prejudicial to his/her work’s integrity. These prerogatives are referred to as the author’s “moral rights.”
Moral rights are intrinsically characteristic of continental (i.e. civil law) tradition.  Other legal systems, including those of common law tradition, grant protection corresponding to moral rights, in principle, outside of the copyright systems, for instance, under tort, unfair competition or contract law.

The Copyright Act of Japan specifies the author’s moral rights, and so the author of a work enjoys both "moral rights of an author" and "copyrights (i.e. economic rights)" in Japan.
Under the Copyright Act of Japan, "moral rights of an author” mean the rights to protect moral interests of an author, which contain the following three kinds of right:
① A right to make a work public
② A right to determine the indication of an author's name
③ A right to maintain integrity
Enjoyment of the moral rights of an author is not subject to any formality.
Moral rights of an author must be personal and exclusive to the author and cannot be transferred.

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