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Copyright Protection in literary work, Book, scripts, screenplay, novels, lyrics

Copyright protection in literary work, Copyright of name, Adaptation of literary work, Copyright on adaptation, Abridgment of literary work, Copyright on Translation work, Copyright of Originality in literary work
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    What is protected in literary work

    What must be appropriated by one man upon another is the product of the labour, skill and capital, not the elements, the raw materials, upon which the labour and skill and capital of the first have been expended.

    To secure copyright for the product, it is necessary that the labour, skill and capital should be expended sufficiently to impart to the product some quality or character which the raw material did not possess, and which differentiates the product from the raw material
    What is the precise amount of the knowledge, labour, judgment or literary skill or taste which the author of any book or other compilation must bestow upon his composition in order to acquire copyright in it cannot be defined in precise terms.

    However the quantum of skill, judgment and labour required is not very high. This is illustrated by the fact that copyright has been recognized in trade catalogues, and street directories.

    What is Literary merit

    A literary work need not be of literary quality. Even so prosaic a work as an index of railway stations or a railway guide, or a list of stock exchange quotations, qualifies as a literary work, if sufficient effort has been expended in compiling it, to give it a new and original character.

    In the field of literary copyright, it is well settled that in order to secure protection, it is not necessary that there should be any literary merit as such at all. If one works hard enough, walking down the streets, taking down the names of people who live at houses and makes a street directory as a result of that labour, this has been held to be an exercise sufficient to justify in making claim to copyright in the work which is ultimately produced.

    In University of London Press Ltd. v University Tutorial Press Ltd.
    PETERSON, J. stated:
    It may be difficult to define literary work, as used in his Act, but it seems to me plain that it is not confined to 'literary work' in the sense in which the phrase is applied, for instance, to Meredith's novels and he writings of Robert Louis Stevenson. In speaking of such writings, as literary works, one thinks of the quality, the style, and the literary finish which they exhibit.

    Under the Act of 1842, which protected books, many things which had no pretensions to literary style acquired copyright; for example, a list of registered bills of sale, a list of fox-hounds and hunting dogs, and trade catalogues; and I see no ground for coming to the conclusion that the present Act was intended to curtail the right of authors.

    In my view the words literary work cover work which is expressed in print or writing, irrespective of the question whether the quality or style is high. The word 'literary' seems to be used in a sense, somewhat similar to the sue of the word 'literature' in political or electioneering literature, and refers to written or printer matter.

    Acquiring copyright in a Book

    Under the Copyright Act, 1957, it appears that under Sections 13 and 45, the registration of book with the Registrar of Copyrights, is a condition for acquiring copyright with respect to it.

    A plain reading of the several provisions of the Act, leaves no doubt in our minds that a copyright in a book now is only secured if it is an original creative compilation and is duly registered under the Copyright Act: according to the provisions of the 1957 Act. Once it is so registered, the author is deemed to acquire property rights in the book.

    The Legal rights arising from registration of a book can be the subject-matter of civil or criminal remedy, so that, without it the author can have no rights, nor remedies given the fact that his work is an original creative work.

    The Imperial Copyright Act, 1911, as adopted or modified to suit Indian conditions by the Indian Copyright Act, 1914, a person had an inherent copyright in an original composition or compilation without the necessity of its registration Under the English enactment copyright may subsist subject to the provisions of the Act "in every original literary, dramatic, musical artistic work.

    Does Copyright subsist on, work giving information, instruction or pleasure

    A literary work is intended to afford either information or instruction, or pleasure, in the form of literary enjoyment.

    Davey, LJ. while dealing with a case concerned with copyright in a cardboard pattern sleeve with scales and figures and descriptive words upon it observed:
    The sleeve chart before us gives no information or instruction. It does not add to the stock of human knowledge or give, and is not designed to give, any instruction by way of description or otherwise and it certainly is not calculated to afford literary enjoyment or pleasure. It is the representation of the shape
    of a lady's arm or more probably of a sleeve designed for a lady's arm, with certain scales for measurement upon it. It is intended, not for the purpose of
    giving information of pleasure, but for practical use in the art of dressmaking.

    It is, in fact, a mechanical contrivance, appliance or tool, for better enabling a dess maker to make her measurements for the purpose of cutting out the sleeve of a lady's dress, and is intended to be used for the purpose. In my opinion it is no more entitled to copyright as a literary work than the scale attached to the barometer in the case of Davis v Comitti.

    Two sentences on their own do not afford sufficient information, instruction or literary enjoyment to qualify as a literary work. Thus the sentences "follow
    clinic procedure for after care. If proper procedures are followed, no risk of viral infection can occur.- were considered not literary work. See Noah v Shuba

    Can a name be Copyright protected

    A name cannot be Copyright protected.
    In Du Boulay v Du Boulay the Privy Council said:
    In this country we do not recognize the absolute right of a person to a particular name to the extent of entitling him to prevent the assumption of that name by a stranger. The mere assumption of a name, which is the patronymic of a family by a stranger who had never before been called by that name, whatever cause of annoyance it may be to the family, is a grievance for which our law affords to redress.

    This also is reflected in many cases in the law of passing off. In a well known and frequently quoted passage in Burberrys v J.C. Cording & Co. Ltd.PARKER, J. said:
    On the one hand apart from the law as to trade marks, no one can claim monopoly rights in the use of a word or a name.

    On the other hand, no one is entitled by the use of any word or name or indeed in any other way to represent his goods as being the goods of another to that other's injury. If an injunction be granted restraining the use of a word or name, it is no doubt granted to protect property, but the property to protect which it is granted, is not property in the word or name, but property in the trade or goodwill which will be injured by its use.

    Similarly no one owned his likeness apart from any copyright which might exist in particular reproduction .

    Can Adaptation of literary work be Copyrighted

    Copyright subsists in the original adaptation of another literary work, because the adaptation itself can be a literary work. Adaptation in relation to literary work means the conversion of the work into a dramatic work by way of performance in public or otherwise, any abridgement of the work or any version of the work in which the story or action is conveyed wholly or mainly by means of pictures in a form suitable for reproduction in a book, or in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical.

    Adaptation in relation to any work includes any use of such work involving the rearrangement or alteration. This applies to literary work also.

    Does Copyright subsists in an arrangement or adaptation of an original work

    Whether the arrangement or adaptation was made lawfully or made in infringement of the original work. If copyright subsists in the original work the reproduction of the adaptation will be possible only with the consent or license of the copyright owner of the original work since the owner of the work has the right to make any adaptations of the work.

    Selection and arrangement In Express Newspapers v News it was held that a reporters' interview lasting over eight and half hours, the whole conduct of the interview and the selection of quotations involves sufficient skill and judgment of the reporter to enable him to acquire copyright in the quotations included in his report.

    Where the owner of a copyright in an original work licenses another person to arrange or adapt it

    for Instance to base a film script or a play upon a book, the copyright in the arrangement then vests in the arranger, who has originated it. Normally of course, the licence to make the arrangement or adaptation will carry with it a licence, for example, to perform the adaptation; but theoretically, if it did not do so, a performance of the adaptation could be restrained by the owner of the copyright. But it does not follow that the owner of the copyright in the original work owns the copyright in the arrangement.

    Copyright of Abridgment of literary work

    A genuine abridgement of a literary work is an original work and can be the subject of copyright.

    An abridgement of a literary work, is entitled to copyright if it is new and original and the author has bestowed sufficient skill and labour upon it. In Macmillan & Co. v Cooper  Lord ATKINSON stated: "An abridgement of an author's work means a statement designed to be complete and accurate of the thoughts, opinions and ideas by him expressed therein but set forth much more concisely in the compressed language of the abridger.

    A publication, the text of which consists of a number of detached passages, selected from an author's work, often not contiguous but separated from those which precede and follow them by considerable bodies of print knit together by few words, so as to give these passages, when reprinted, the appearance, as far as possible, of a continuous narrative, is not an abridgment at all. It only expresses in the original author's own words, some of the ideas, thoughts and opinions set forth in his words. And it is obvious that the learning, judgment, literary taste and skill requisite to compile properly and effectively an abridgment, deserving that name, could not be at all needed merely to select such scraps as those taken from an author and to print them in a narrative form.

    To constitute a true and equitable abridgment

    the entire work must be preserved in its precise import and exact meaning, and then the act of abridgment is an exertion of the individuality employed in moulding and transferring a large work into a small compass, thus rendering it less expensive and more convenient both to the time and use of the reader. Independent labour must be apparent and the restriction of the size of the work by copying some of its parts and omitting others confers no title to the authorship, and the result will not be an abridgment.

    To abridge is to preserve the substance, the essence of the work in language suited to such a purpose, language, substantially different from that of the original. To make such an abridgment requires the exercise of mind, labour, skill and judgment brought into play, and the result is not mere copying.

    "To constitute a proper abridgment, the arrangement of the book abridged must be preserved, the ideas must also be taken and expressed in language
    not copied but condensed. To copy certain passages and omit others so as to reduce the volume in bulk is not such an abridgment as the court would recognise as sufficiently to protect the author."

    A digest of a literary work is in the nature of an abridgment.

    Copyright protection on Translation work

    A translation of a literary work is itself a literary work and is entitled to copyright protection, if it is original and the author has expended sufficient labour and skill on it.If copyright subsists in the original work then reproduction or publication of the translation without the consent or licence of the owner of the copyright in the original will constitute infringement.

    The word 'translation' is not defined in the Act. According to the Shorter Oxford Dictionary 'translate' means "to interpret, explain, also to express one thing in terms of another"

    "Translation' means "the action or process of turning from one language into another; also, the product of this, a version in a different language the expression or rendering of something in another medium or form, transformation, alteration (or) change". Applying this meaning it has been held that the conversing of the source code in a computer programme, often written in hand, into the object code or machine language is a translation.

    Copyright of Originality in literary work

    Copyright subsists only in an original literary work. But it is not necessary that "the work should be the expression of original or inventive thought, for Copyright Acts are not concerned with the originality of ideas, but with the expression of thought, and in the case of a literary work, with the expression of thought in print or writing.

    Originality for the purpose of copyright law relates to the expression of thought, but such expression need not be original or novel. What is essential is that the work must not be copied from another work, but must originate from the author.

    In Macmillan & Co. v Cooper, it was stated: The question is not whether the materials which are used are entirely new and have never been used before, or even that they have never been used before for the same purpose. The true question is whether the same plan, arrangement and combination of materials have been used before for the same purpose or for any other purpose.

    If they have not, then the plaintiff is entitled to a copyright, although he may have gathered hints for his plan and arrangement or parts of his plan and arrangement from existing and known sources. He may have borrowed much of his materials from others, but if they are combined in a different manner from what was in use before, he is entitled to a copyright, but he does not thereby acquire the right to appropriate to himself the materials which were common to all persons before, so as to exclude those persons from a future use of such materials; but then they have no right to use such materials with his improvement superadded, whether they consist in plan, arrangement or illustrations or combinations for these are strictly his own.

    There is a distinction between the materials upon which one claiming copyright has worked and the product ofthe application of his skill, judgment, labour and learning with these materials; which product, though it may be neither novel nor ingenious, is yet the claimant's original work in that it is originated by him, emanates from him and is not copied.

    "The word 'original' does not mean that the work must be the expression of original or inventive thought. The originality which is required relates to -he expression of the thought but the Act does not require that the expression must be in an original or novel form, but that the work must not be copied from another work-that it should originate from the author.

    "What is the precise amount of the knowledge, labour, judgment or 'terary skill or taste, which the author or any book must bestow in order to acquire copyright, cannot be defined in precise terms. In every case, it must depend largely on the special facts ofthat case, and must in each case, be very
    uch a question of degree."

    Does originality of thought is needed to sustain a claim to copyright?

    No originality of thought is needed to sustain a claim to copyright. Under copyright law ideas are not protected, only the skill and labour needed to give any given idea some particular material form, for it is the form in which the work is presented that is protected by copyright. That need only be original in the sense that it is all the author's own work. Two compilers covering the same area may produce identical, or nearly identical street directories, two artists or photographers photographing a particular object may produce nearly identical representations, but each is entitled to copyright in his particular representation of the work in question.

    Any new and original plan, arrangement or compilation of material will be entitle the author to copyright therein, whether the materials themselves be old or new and whosoever by his own skill, labour and judgment writes a new work may have a copyright therein unless it be directly copied or evasively imitated from another work. By an original composition it is not meant to convey that it is confined to a field which has never been traversed hitherto by any other person or persons, either in respect of ideas or material comprised therein., The originality which is required relates to the expression of thought, and that the work should not be copied from another work, but should originate from the author.

    What is the degree of originality required for literary work for copyright protection?

    The degree of originality required for literary work for copyright protection is minimal because this reduces the element of subjective judgment in determining what work qualifies for protection and gives protection to a person who expends labour, skill, judgment and capital in producing the work.

    The following works were protected:
    1) Report of a speech Walter v Lane
    2) A sketch of a piece of machinery Morris v Gilman
    3) A translation of a foreign work Byrne v Statist
    4) An information service to race goers Portway Press v Hague

    Is Labour, skill and capital necessary  to secure copyright for a product?

    Labour, skill and capital should be expended sufficiently to impart to the product some quality or character which the raw material did not possess and which differentiates the product from the raw _material. However, what is the precise amount of the knowledge, labour judgment or literary skill or taste which the author of any book or other compilation must bestow upon its composition in order to acquire copyright in it cannot be defined in precise terms. It must depend largely upon the special facts of each case and it is very much a question of degree.

    In G.A. Cramp and Sons Ltd. v Frank Smythson was held that the selection of some common place tables in a pocket diary did not involve the exercise of any taste or literary judgment and that such a compilation did not constitute original literary work.

    Who can Claim for Copyright of a Creative work:

    Anyone who by his or her own skill and labour creates an original piece work of whatever character, shall have an exclusive right to copy that work and non else would be permitted to reap the economic benefits what the copyright owner had sown.

    It is reasonably clear that the appellants have collected the material content and improvished and improved the readability of the judgment by putting inputs in the original text of the judgment by considerable labour and arranged it in their own creative way, but that does not give the flavour of minimum requirement of creativity.

    The amount of the skill and judgment used to produce the work is minimal and is on account of the labour and the capital invested and could be characterized as a piece of Creative work brought about by investing some amount of labour by the appellants.

    That is why creativity of SCC would only be addition of certain facts or material already published case law published in another law report and its own arrangement and presentation of the orders passed by the court in its own creative way to make it more user-friendly. The arrangement and selection can be viewed as typical and at best result of the labour, skill and investment of capital lacking even minimal creativity.

    As a whole it does not display sufficient originality so as to amount to an original work of the author. To support a copyright claim, there must be some substantive variation and not merely a trivial variation, not the variation of the type where limited ways/unique of expression available and an writer/author selects one of them which can be said to be a garden variety.

    it is the minimal degree of creativity which is the requirement for protection of copyright and not merely Novelty or invention or innovative idea.

    Therefore edited judgments do not touch the standard of creativity required for the copyright registration and protection.

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