Creative Commons: America's Moral Rights?

65 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2011 Last revised: 29 Oct 2012

Date Written: February 1, 2011


This paper examines the status of authors' moral rights in a post-Dastar world. It argues that, apart from the minimal recognition of moral rights for visual artists in the Visual Artists Rights Act (1990) and a handful of state laws, Creative Commons and other open access movements currently represent the only effective recognition of moral rights in the United States. This paper examines approaches to moral rights in a variety of open-access scenarios, including Creative Commons, free software, Wikipedia, and Google Books, and it attempts to assess the advantages and dangers of offering moral rights as an alternative to regular copyright protection. The paper argues that open access models do not provide sufficient protection for moral rights in the United States. Rather, the approach to moral rights in open access movements should be used as a starting-point for the broader recognition of moral rights under U.S. law. In particular, moral rights as understood by the open access community can help to achieve a better balance between corporate interests and the public interest under U.S. copyright law – an opportunity that should not be missed.

Keywords: copyright, copyleft, moral rights, creative commons, open source, authorship, technology

Suggested Citation

Sundara Rajan, Mira T., Creative Commons: America's Moral Rights? (February 1, 2011). Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 21, p. 905, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Mira T. Sundara Rajan (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Magdalen College ( email )

Magdalen College
Oxford, OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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