Moral rights protect the non-commercial interests of authors and artists, including near-universal
recognition of attribution -- the right to be named as the author of one’s own work -- and
integrity -- the right to protect one’s work from harm. In the case of works of collaborative
authorship, the recognition and application of moral rights can become extraordinarily complex.
This situation reflects the fundamental characteristics of moral rights themselves: the rights are
generally inalienable and, in some cases, can endure without limitation in time. Joint authorship
implies equal rights shared by both authors, yet few jurisdictions clarify how moral rights are to
be managed in collaborations -- how, for example, potential conflicts regarding questions of
artistic integrity between the joint authors should be resolved, or how the moral rights of joint
authors are to be protected against third parties. There is also an international movement towards
the recognition of moral rights in works created by groups, as is often the case in relation to
indigenous cultural expressions and traditional knowledge. In these situations, attribution
presents the first hurdle to the recognition of moral rights: how do we identify the “authors” of
traditional works, and whom should we empower to assert moral rights for their protection?
While these problems may seem daunting, the presence of collaborative works on the
international copyright scene, both in the form of new technological creation and in the growing
recognition given to indigenous creativity, is increasingly significant. Resolving these issues is
likely to play an important role in the future of copyright law.