Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Larry E. Verbit


The European doctrine of droit moral, known as moral rights in the United States, has not, per se, been integrated into the American legal system. The author examines the development of the law of unfair competition as a remedy for artists seeking to protect the moral rights of paternity and integrity. The author asserts that section 43(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946 (Lanham Act) has been interpreted by courts as an effective remedy for artists' paternity interests. However, regardless of the holding in Gilliam v. American Broadcasting Companies, the author finds section 43(a) as unreliable to provide redress for interference with a creator's integrity right. In the analysis the author hypothesizes application of section 43(a) to recent film industry controversies and concludes that existing case law supports section 43(a) relief for an integrity infringement only where there is extensive mutilation, resulting in a false attribution/paternity infringement.