Moral rights are quite simply the right of the Author (Photographer) to be named as the Author of the work he/she creates as well as to object to the distortion or mutilation of that work.

Section 20 of the Copyright Act refers to Moral Rights.

  1. Notwithstanding the transfer of the copyright in a literary, musical or artistic work, in a cinematograph film or in a computer program, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work, and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of the work where such action is or would be prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author.
  2. Any infringement of the provisions of this section shall be treated as an infringement of copyright under Chapter 2, and for the purposes of the provisions of the said Chapter the author shall be deemed to be the owner of the copyright in question. [S. 20 substituted by s. 19 of Act No. 125 of 1992.]

The Author of the work must assert the right to be named as the author of that work and again, this should form part of your basic business documentation.

In advertising photography it is common for the author of the work to be required to waive the right to be named, one of the reasons why advertising photography rates are higher than the other markets rates. The advertising agency is credited as the author of the ENTIRE advert in magazine adverts.

For further information you can purchase ‘EXPOSED – The Business of Photography’ by Deryck van Steenderen, published by Verse Creative.

“To leave the world a bit better… to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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