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Copyright Laws

Copyright and Related Rights


2.162 Copyright law is a branch of that part of the law which deals with the rights of intellectual
creators. Copyright law deals with particular forms of creativity, concerned primarily with mass
communication. It is concerned also with virtually all forms and methods of public communication,
not only printed publications but also such matters as sound and television broadcasting, films for
public exhibition in cinemas, etc. and even computerized systems for the storage and retrieval of

2.163 Copyright deals with the rights of intellectual creators in their creation. Most works, for
example books, paintings or drawings, exist only once they are embodied in a physical object. But
some of them exist without embodiment in a physical object. For example music or poems are
works even if they are not, or even before they are, written down by a musical notation or words.

2.164 Copyright law, however, protects only the form of expression of ideas, not the ideas
themselves. The creativity protected by copyright law is creativity in the choice and arrangement of
words, musical notes, colors, shapes and so on. Copyright law protects the owner of rights in
artistic works against those who “copy”, that is to say those who take and use the form in which
the original work was expressed by the author.
Copyright Protection

2.165 Copyright protection is above all one of the means of promoting, enriching and
disseminating the national cultural heritage.
A country’s development depends to a very great
extent on the creativity of its people, and encouragement of individual creativity and its
dissemination is a sine qua non for progress.

2.166 Copyright constitutes an essential element in the development process. Experience has
shown that the enrichment of the national cultural heritage depends directly on the level of
protection afforded to literary and artistic works. The greater the number of a country’s intellectual
creations, the higher its renown; the greater the number of productions in literature and the arts,
the more numerous their so-called “auxiliaries” (the performers, producers of phonograms and
broadcasting organizations) in the book, record and entertainment industries; and indeed, in the
final analysis, encouragement of intellectual creation is one of the basic prerequisites of all social,
economic and cultural development.

2.167 Legislation could provide for the protection not only of the creators of intellectual works but
also of the auxiliaries that help in the dissemination of such works, in respect of their own rights.
The protection of these auxiliaries of intellectual creators is also of importance to developing
countries since the cultural achievement of some of these countries includes, in no small measure,
performance, sound recording and broadcasting of different creations of their folklore as well.
While developing countries are often in need of foreign books, especially in the field of science,
technology, education and research, they could offer to the world an abundance of their national
cultural heritage, which can be protected, within the framework of copyright legislation, through
protection of the rights of these auxiliaries or of related (or neighboring) rights as they are called.

2.168 Adoption of the law is the first step. The practical value of the law depends on its effective
and efficient application. This can be achieved through setting up of appropriate authors’
organizations for collection and distribution of authors’ fees. Copyright, if effectively implemented,
serves as an incentive to authors and their assignees (the publishers) to create and disseminate
knowledge. It is something that society must necessarily accept if it wishes to encourage
intellectual creativity, to ensure the progress of the sciences, the arts and of knowledge in general,
to promote the industry using authors’ works and to render it possible to distribute such works in
an organized manner among the widest possible circle of interested persons.

2.169 Copyright protection, from the viewpoint of the creator of works, makes sense only if the
creator actually derives benefits from such works, and this cannot happen in the absence of
publication and dissemination of his works and the facilitation of such publication and
dissemination. This is the essential role of copyright in developing countries.

2.170 There are several factors influencing intellectual creativity in developing countries, apart
from the pecuniary condition of most of the authors and intellectual creators themselves, who need
to be offered incentives and subsidies. There is the shortage of paper for the production of
textbooks for the process of continuing education (both formal and non-formal), and for production
of prescribed and recommended books as also general books, which are to be placed within the
reach of the common man in these countries.

2.171 The role of governments in this activity could include financial assistance in the creation and production of textbooks and other educational literature, inputs for training and also help for expansion of the library system, the creation of mobile libraries to serve far-flung and remote rural areas, etc. In this whole chain, the various links, namely authorship, publishing, distribution and fostering of the library movement on a broad base, cannot be underrated, and need to be carefully nurtured and coordinated.

Subject Matter of Copyright Protection

2.174 The subject-matter of copyright protection includes every production in the literary, scientific
and artistic domain, whatever the mode or form of expression. For a work to enjoy copyright
protection, however, it must be an original creation. The ideas in the work do not need to be new
but the form, be it literary or artistic, in which they are expressed must be an original creation of the
author. And, finally, protection is independent of the quality or the value attaching to the work—it
will be protected whether it be considered, according to taste, a good or a bad literary or musical
work—and even of the purpose for which it is intended, because the use to which a work may be
put has nothing to do with its protection.

2.175 Works eligible for copyright protection are, as a rule, all original intellectual creations. A
non-exhaustive, illustrative enumeration of these is contained in national copyright laws. To be
protected by copyright law, an author’s works must originate from him; they must have their origin in the labor of the author. But it is not necessary, to qualify for copyright protection, that works should pass a test of imaginativeness, of inventiveness. The work is protected irrespective of the quality thereof and also when it has little in common with literature, art or science, such as purely
technical guides or engineering drawings, or even maps. Exceptions to the general rule are made in
copyright laws by specific enumeration; thus laws and official decisions or mere news of the day
are generally excluded from copyright protection.

2.176 Practically all national copyright laws provide for the protection of the following types of
literary works: novels, short stories, poems, dramatic works and any other writings, irrespective of
their content (fiction or non-fiction), length, purpose (amusement, education, information,
advertisement, propaganda, etc.), form (handwritten, typed, printed; book, pamphlet, single sheet,
newspaper, magazine); whether published or unpublished; in most countries “oral works,” that is,
works not reduced to writing, are also protected by the copyright law;
musical works: whether serious or light; songs, choruses, operas, musicals, operettas; if for
instructions, whether for one instrument (solos), a few instruments (sonatas, chamber music, etc.),
or many (bands, orchestras);



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