Economic Rights vs Moral Rights = Intellectual Property Rights once granted or obtained offer dual protection, which consists of the right to economic exploitation of the creation by the right holder and the protection of the creator’s non-pecuniary interests.

Economic Rights (German: Verwertungsrechte, Polish: autorskie prawa majątkowe, Greek: οικονομικά δικαιώματα) = As IPR constitute primarily property rights, the term Economic Rights refers to the exclusive right of the right holder to authorise or prohibit the reproduction, distribution, exportation or importation, or other exploitative activities, such as rental and lending, public performance, communication to the public and adaptation in cases of copyrighted work or use and storage in cases of trademarks, of the by IPR protected creation by third parties, which have not previously obtained a license, within the boarders of the states in which the intellectual property right has been granted or obtained.

Moral Rights (German: Urheberpersönlichkeitsrechte, Polish: autorskie prawa osobiste, Greek: ηθικά δικαιώματα) = The concept of Moral Rights relies on the connection between a person and their creation, as moral rights constitute the right of the creator to protect the integrity and ownership of their work to maintain the “indestructible creational bond” that exists between their personality and their creation, and as such can only be held by a natural person. The scope of moral rights varies depending on the state’s cultural conceptions of authorship and ownership, the ratio for the protection of IPR and the type of creation for which protection has been grated or obtained. However, it usually includes the right to paternity for inventors, the right to attribution and right to object to false attribution for authors, the right to publish or divulge a work, to object to alterations or destruction of the original work, the right to object to excessive criticism, the right to withdraw a work from circulation, and the right to dictate forms and means of performance for copyrighted work.

Whereas Economic Rights can be freely transferred, this is not the case for Moral Rights, which can be merely waived in some jurisdictions.

Useful Links

Online Publications - UK Intellectual Property Office, 2015, The Rights Granted by Copyright, Copyright Guidance [English]


L. Bently, B. Sherman, “Intellectual Property Law” [2014] 272 [English]

W. R. Cornish, “Intellectual Property: Patents, Copyright, Trade Marks and Allied Rights” [2007] [English]

T. F. Cotter, “Pragmatism, Economics, and the Droit Moral [1997] 76 N.C.L.Rev 1. [English]

A. Dietz, “The Artist’s Right of Integrity under Copyright Law” [1994] 25 IIC 177 [English]

J. Ginsburg, “Moral Rights in a Common Law System” [1990] 1 EntLRev 121 [English]

H.-P. Götting, “Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz: Patent-, Gebrauchsmuster-, Design- und Markenrecht” [2014] [German]

A. Ohly, J. Pila, “The Europeanization of intellectual property law: towards a European legal methodology” [2013] [English]

B. Rosenblatt, “Moral Rights Basics” [1998] [English]

I. A. Stamatoudi, P. Torremans, “EU copyright law: a commentary” [2014] [English]


By Karolina Zamanakou