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U.S. Authors Want Moral Rights, Guild Survey Says

On May 15, the Authors Guild submitted reply comments to the Copyright Office for its study on whether U.S. law should expressly provide creators with certain moral rights, namely the rights of attribution (the right to receive credit for one’s work) and integrity (the right to prevent others from modifying one’s work in a manner that would injure the author’s reputation or honor). Both rights are required by U.S. treaty obligations.

In this second set of comments, we presented the results of a brief survey of our members in order to give the Copyright Office a more grounded and nuanced understanding of the importance of moral rights to authors, including when and why they believe the rights of attribution and integrity would be helpful.

We concluded that Congress should enact express rights of attribution and integrity, as there are many situations where a publishing contract either has not been entered into or does not address attribution or integrity. Respondents to the survey described many instances where they had been harmed by failure to receive attribution or by having their work substantially modified (to the extent that they did not want their names associated with the revised version). We recommend that the rights be waivable by contract, however, as many respondents to our survey expressed concern about harming the markets for ghostwriting and other commissioned writing, which provide some authors with an important source of income.

Read the reply comments below.

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