Jonathan Barrett, ‘Moral Rights and Immoral Artists’

The word ‘moral’ used to denote upright behaviour and ‘moral’ to denote certain authorial rights (droit moral), are homonyms: the things signified by the same signifier are different. Because Germany’s moral rights equivalent is the personality right (Persönlichkeitsrecht), the German language does not permit the wordplay employed in the title. Nevertheless, this paper argues that personhood (Persönlichkeit), which is intertwined with the fundamental human rights principle of respect for equal and inherent human dignity, is the critical consideration for both understanding moral rights and engaging with the vexed issue of artworks created by immoral artists. This paper, which should be read as a sample of ongoing research, therefore approaches moral rights from a personhood perspective in order to construct analytical tools for engaging with immoral artists and their artworks.

Barrett, Jonathan M, Moral Rights and Immoral Artists (November 2, 2019). Presented at the Asian Pacific Copyright Association Conference, Wellington, New Zealand, November 2019 .

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