Moral Rights

The moral rights protect the relationship between the creator and his or her work. Generally they are unwaivable and inalienable. These rights may be restricted in part by contractual agreement.

The right to be credited as author and claiming of authorship

Authors are entitled to claim authorship of work created by them. This is particularly important if another person names himself or herself as the author of the work concerned. The true author may counter this by suing for an injunction.

Authors are entitled to a designation as the author (credit). The author alone determines whether and in what manner the work is to bear a designation of author. He or she may also forbid any credit (in particular with anonymous or pseudonymous works).

Prohibition of alteration (protection from distortion)

If the work is intended for publication, not even those who have been granted the rights of use may make any alterations in the work – without the author's explicit permission. Abridgements, work combinations or changes to the designation of author are deemed alterations.

This applies not only to alterations of the work as such but also to the context in which it is used. Here too, the interests of the author must not be compromised. For instance, the use for commercial or political advertising is subject to specific consent.

A right of alteration may be granted by contract. Nevertheless, authors may fight serious alterations (distortion).

Other rights

Right of access

Even after selling the work, the author is still entitled to  retain access to the (original) work if this is the only possibility to make use of the right of reproduction. However, work owners are not obliged to maintain them.

Limitations on foreclosure rulings

Author's rights are exempt from foreclosure proceedings, both moral rights and in principle exploitation rights, but not, e.g. royalty claims. This does not apply to the judicial enforcement of any rights of use agreed by contract.


An author is in default in repayment of a bank loan. Subsequently, the bank wants to recover the outstanding amount by seizure. It may seize licence payments – such as those gathered by collecting societies – but not the exploitation right as such. This means that the bank cannot itself grant licences. This right is exempt from foreclosure rulings.