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Title: Moral rights in copyright law : personality, the self, & the author-work relation
Author: Simon, David Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 0792
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Moral rights in copyright law are noneconomic rights that entitle the author to control how the author is divulged, modified, and attributed. They are based on the idea that each author alone stands in a special relation ("Relation A") to her work by virtue of creating it. Despite the quite voluminous literature, moral rights scholars have not specified in what this special relation could consist. My dissertation addresses this issue. More specifically, I answer two questions. First, what is the nature of Relation A? Second, assuming I provide a plausible account of Relation A, how could the law protect it? In answering the first question, I drawing on law, sociology, psychology, and philosophy to develop the first full account of the nature of Relation A. I show that this Relation consists in certain psychological states regarding perceptions of the author's empirical or "social self" as externalized in the work - what I call her externalized social self. In contrast to an abstract or ideal notion of the self typically propounded by moral rights advocates, the social self is built up by interaction between the author, the work, and non-authors, or "the other." It is not fixed and unchanging but subject to constant renegotiation - and the author is but one of the negotiators. This account has implications for just how moral rights protect Relation A. Importantly, this account of Relation A forces a shift in the scope and nature of moral rights. Because moral rights are limited tools to present and manage a specific aspect of the author's externalized social self, relevant protections are not focused entirely on the author, or even honor or reputation. Instead, the thing protected - the externalized social self - depends on what others think, not just what the author thinks. The externalized social self can be harmed only in limited ways - when its existence is threatened, and even then, only in certain circumstances. Moral rights, on this account, are not designed to protect some inner personality or mystical self; they are tools to present and manage the author's externalized social self in limited ways. What results is a set of protections that are weaker and narrower than most moral rights scholars would prefer. These protections are focused less on inviolate harm, honor, or reputation and more on managing a particular image of the self-as-presented.
Supervisor: Bently, Lionel Sponsor: Cambridge Overseas Trust ; Trinity College
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: intellectual property ; moral rights ; copyright law ; philosophy and law ; philosophy of intellectual property ; authors' rights ; rights of authors ; droit moral ; intellectual property law