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Belief in moral right to own copyright of own work not a protected philosophical belief

Makbool Javaid

In Gray v Mulberry Company (Design) Ltd, G was dismissed for failing to sign a Copyright Agreement which conferred certain rights on MC Ltd in respect of works created by G. G claimed direct and indirect discrimination based on her belief in “the statutory human or moral right to own the copyright and moral rights of her own creative works and output“. An ET rejected G’s claim because when the test in Grainger plc v Nicholson was applied, G’s belief did not constitute a protected philosophical belief under S.10(2) of the Equality Act 2010. G’s belief was genuinely held, it was not just an opinion, it concerned a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour, and, it was worthy of respect in a democratic society. But, the belief did not meet the fourth criterion in Grainger because it did not attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance. G did not hold the belief as any sort of philosophical touchstone to her life. It was not part of a philosophical belief system but concentrated on her individual right to create, produce, write and benefit from her work. The EAT held that the ET had applied Grainger correctly and did not set the bar too high in respect of the fourth Grainger criterion.

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