Free Moral Rights Consent templates (Australia)

How to keep within the law while adapting a copyrighted work.

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Moral rights are in place to protect creatives and their works. There are some circumstances under which a creator may wish to waive their moral rights. This can be done by using a moral rights consent form.

We know these aren't the easy things to get your head around. So, we've put together this guide to navigate you through the process of writing up your own document.

What exactly are moral rights?

According to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), there are three types of moral rights. The right to:

  • Attribution of authorship, i.e. to be acknowledged as the creator
  • Not have authorship wrongly attributed, i.e. others will not be named as authors for work they didn't create
  • The integrity of authorship, i.e. a creator's work will be respected and will not be used to affect the author's reputation.

Moral Rights Consent allows a third party to amend, alter and adapt copyrighted works without being in breach of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) or infringing the moral rights of the author. In simple terms, by signing a moral rights consent, an author is giving permission for their works to be used in a way that may breach their moral rights.

This can be in relation to any type of intellectual property, including musical, literary or dramatic works.

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Download this template at Lawpath

Moral rights consent can be included as a clause in a wider contract (often used as part of an intellectual property clause) or as a completely separate consent form.

However you decide to incorporate the consent, it should be agreed to and signed by the creator of the copyrighted work at the very start of the working relationship, and before the work is used in any capacity.

A moral rights consent is a straightforward form that should include:

  • Personal details of both parties involved, i.e. the creator of the copyrighted work and the third party that wants to use the work
  • Detailed description of the copyrighted work in question
  • Specific acts and omissions that the third party is permitted to do, for example, reproducing or adapting the copyrighted work
  • Designated space at the bottom of the form for the creator to sign the consent.

Moral rights consent is an important document to have in place, not only for the creator but for the third party too. If a business chooses to use a creation in a way that breaches the law, without moral rights consent, the creator can hold them accountable for infringing their rights.

Equally, if a creator gives a business permission to use their works without a moral rights consent, they will have no control over how it is used.

While it's not wholly necessary to hire a lawyer to write up this form, it's always handy for a legal professional to look over the final piece. Doing so will make sure that both parties are covered fairly by the document, and can work to ensure that you avoid any unexpected lawsuits further down the line.

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Your consent form doesn't need to be more than a page long, and should only include the essential information outlined above. Remember that this is a one-way document that only needs to be signed by the creator of the copyrighted works.

This means it should be written in the first person, for example:

'I [name and address of the creator] acknowledge and affirm that I am the author of the works [describe works in question]'.

A template can save you the hassle of creating your own document from scratch. You'll find lots of legal templates online, below are a few recommended websites where you can find one.

  • Lawpath. As an online legal resource for small businesses, users can browse free templates but must sign-up to access customisation options.
  • Law Depot. Provides a broad array of free online documents to choose from. Fill them in online, before downloading the documents to your computer.
  • LegalVision. Enjoy unlimited use of free legal document templates and legal advice for a monthly membership fee.
  • Wonder Legal. Browse more than 140 legal document templates with Wonder Legal, and then download your chosen template for a one-time fee.

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