Rights of an author beyond copyright:
Should right to assert authorship in a work, include a right to object to distortion, mutilation or modification in a work?
Why not, if it is prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author. The contours, the hue and the colours of the original work, if tinkered, may distort the ethos of the work. Distorted and displayed, the viewer may form a poor impression of the author.
A good name is worth more than good riches.
(Shakespeare’s Othello, Act-II, Scene III):
Good name in man and woman, dear my Lord
Is the immediate jewel of their souls;
Who steals my purse, steals trash;
Its something nothing;
T’was mine, t’is, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.
Under Article 6 of the Berne Convention, the moral right of integrity enables the author to seek appropriate legal remedies if the moral right of attribution and integrity in his work is violated. The moral rights set out in the Berne Convention are significant because they continue to be vested in the author even after he has parted with his economic rights in his work.
Authorship is a matter of fact. It is history. Knowledge about authorship not only identifies the creator, it also identifies his contribution to national culture. It also makes possible to understand the course of cultural development in a country. Linked to each other, one flowing out from the other, right of integrity ultimately contributes to the overall integrity of the cultural domain of a nation. Language of Section 57 of Copyright Act does not exclude the right of integrity in relation to cultural heritage. The cultural heritage would include the artist whose creativity and ingenuity is amongst the valuable cultural resources of a nation. Through the telescope of section 57 of Copyright Act, it is possible to legally protect the cultural heritage of India through the moral rights of the artist.
[Source: Amar Nath Sehgal vs Union Of India, 117 (2005) DLT 717, 2005 (30) PTC 253. (Delhi High Court)]
Reputation is independent of work:
The principle underlying section 57 (of Copyright Act, 1957) is that damage to the reputation of an author is something apart from infringement of work itself. Section 57 provides an exception to the rule that after an author has parted with his rights in favour of a publisher or other person, the latter alone is entitled to sue in respect of infringements. The publisher or other assignee of copyright can no doubt bring action but thus section provides that the author can approach the court for protecting the plaintiff from serious injury even in cases where there is assignment of copyright. Thus in the case of hand after perusal of the documents produced and the testimony of the witnesses, this court is of the considered view that the plaintiff is the author of the impugned work and that the defendants have modified the said work of the plaintiff without permission.
[Source: Arun Chadha v Oca Productions Private Limited. (Delhi High Court)]