A right is an ethical, social, or legal principle of entitlement or freedom; implying that it is a fundamental normative rule to which people are owed according to a given social convention, legal system, or ethical theory. On the other hand, a legal right is that bestowed on an individual by a particular legal system, or it is that based on statutes, laws, and actions formulated by legislatures. One fact about a legal right is that it can be repealed, restrained, and modified by human laws (Velasquez & Velazquez, 2002). A moral right is restricted to copyrighted and patented works, and as such, it is a right of a creator of copyrighted works that is recognized in civil law jurisdictions, and in some cases, in common law jurisdictions. A moral right can also be defined as a right that is based on human consciousness, and that is backed by a moral force of human mind (Velasquez & Velazquez, 2002). A human right is the most fundamental of all the mentioned types of rights to which every individual is inherently entitled because he or she is a human being. A human right is a norm or moral principle that describes particular standards of human behavior, and it is protected by international law. A right, a legal right, a moral right, and a human right are all related in that they say what a group of people or a person ought to expect as their due given that it under the control of human institutions or people.
A moral right is different from other types of rights in terms of the features that define it. Some of the features of a moral right are that it must be equal or the same for all, it must protect the personal and reputational and not monetary value of work, and it must be practicable (Velasquez & Velazquez, 2002).
It is easy to know that people have rights, and this is dependent on the type of right in focus. For instance, it is easy to know that a person has legal rights if he or she lives within a legal system that guarantees the legal rights. On the other hand, it is easier to know that a person has moral rights because of the provisions of ethical theories developed by John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant in their utilitarian and Kantian views respectively. According to a utilitarian view, a person has a moral right to act in a certain way or do something if his actions will result or produce happiness. In other words, a person has a moral right to act in a certain way only if his actions will result in good consequences. From a Kantian perspective, a person has a moral right to act in a certain way only if his or her actions respect the goals of human beings rather than using the actions of selfish purposes (Shaw & Barry, 2015).
John Locke (1632-1704) believed firmly that human beings have a “natural right” to liberty and a “natural right” to private property. The basis of his belief or argument was that human beings are rationally obliged to pursue what they believe is good for them and avoid what they believe is bad. Locke believed that these obligations are under natural law and not positive law, and thus, he came up with the natural rights to liberty and private property. For the natural right to private property, Locke’s argument was that by nature, human beings are obviously in need of natural resources to survive. As such, as provided by natural law, human beings must be allowed ownership, access, and use of private property (Shaw & Barry, 2015). Moreover, Locke believed that law of nature dictated that nobody ought to harm another person’s liberty, and this led to the inception of the natural right to liberty.
Shaw, W. H., & Barry, V. (2015). Moral issues in business. Cengage Learning.
Velasquez, M. G., & Velazquez, M. (2002). Business ethics: Concepts and cases (Vol. 111). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.