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Moral rights of authors in international copyright of the 21st century : time for consolidation? Radkova, Lenka

Abstract

This thesis provides an insight into the current position of moral rights of authors and outlines the perspectives of the doctrine of moral rights in international copyright regime of the 21st century. Such survey is particularly urgent at a time when the doctrine of droit moral, one of the most contentious and controversial issues in copyright, is now in an international spotlight again. The recent decade has seen two contradictory trends in the field of international copyright. The 1994 Uruguay Round saw the emergence of new global intellectual property regime, embodied in the TRIPs Agreement, which elevates copyright into a new stage of development by linking it for the first time with international trade and technology and by substantially widening the scope of its governance. However, this new instrument is almost exclusively concerned with protecting the rights belonging to owners, endorsing the 'sanctity of property', but practically eliminating the protection of the original creators' non-economic, moral rights. Against this background, the 1990's have witnessed an unprecedented commitment to the protection of artist's moral rights in countries that in the past were the strongest opponents of any such notion within their copyright regimes. The question of moral rights has always been considered an issue where a wider international consensus is impossible due to the traditional rift between civil law's authors' rights and common law's copyright philosophies. However, in a world where the protection of intellectual property is increasingly viewed on an international basis - of necessity, because of technological and economic developments - a global consensus on this issue is inevitable. By reviewing the justificatory schemata underlying the doctrine of droit moral and by analyzing the recent statutory developments in several common law jurisdictions in this arena, as well as the concession made by moral rights-devout civilian jurisdictions, this thesis shows that the gap between the two systems is no longer insurmountable. The analysis reveals that despite the underlying philosophical differences, a substantial degree of convergence of copyright and author's rights is occurring, and outlines the sites of consolidation which can serve as a basis for a possible future international agreement on this issue.

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