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DOCTRINE OF “WORK FOR HIRE” UNDER THE COPYRIGHT LAW : A CRITICAL SURVEY OF U.K., US AND INDIAN CASES

  This article is written by Nadiya Yakub Patel, a student at Thakur Ramnarayan College of Law, Mumbai University.

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INTRODUCTION :

Copyright is a intellectual property that gives the owner the exclusive right to make copies of a creative work usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in literary, artistic, educational, musical form. Also the Copyright is intended to protect the original expression of an idea in the form of a creative work but not the idea itself. A copyright is subject to limitations based on public interest considerations such as the fair use doctrine in the U.K., US and in India.

Some jurisdictions require ‘fixing’ copyrighted works in a tangible form or  manner. It is often shared among the multiple authors and each authors holds a set of rights to use or license the work.

And the Public law duration of a copyright expires 50-100 years after the creator dies, depending on jurisdiction. And in general most of them believe that the long copyright duration guarantees the better protection of works.

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BACKGROUND :

The copyright developed after the printing press came into use. The printing press made it much cheaper to produce works but as there was initially no copyright law anyone can rent press and also print any text. Popular new works were immediately re-set and also re-published by competitors so printers needed a constant stream of the new material. The Fees paid to authors for new works were high and also significantly supplemented the incomes of many academics. Printing brought profound the social changes. Prices of the reprints were low so the  publications could be bought by poorer people and creating a mass audience. 

 

OBTAINING PROTECTION :

Ownership :

In ownership the original holder of the copyright is the employer of the author rather than the author himself if the work is a “work for hire”. The first owner of a copyright is the person who created the work which is know as the author. When more than one person creates the work and then case of joint authorship can be made provided some criteria are met.

Eligible works:

Copyright may apply to a very large range of creative intellectual. Specifics jurisdiction but these can include poems, fictional characters, and other literary works, choreography, musical, sound recordings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, computer software, radio and television broadcasts. Graphic designs may have overlapping laws applied to them in some jurisdictions. Copyright does not cover ideas as well as information themselves only the form in which they are expressed.

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Originality :

A work must meet minimal standards of originality in order to qualify for copyright and then the copyright expires after a set period of time. In the UK there has to be some skill, labour, and judgment that has gone into it. In United Kingdom it has been held that a single word is insufficient to comprise a copyright work.

Copyright law recognizes the right of author based on the work actually is an original creation rather than based on whether it is unique two authors may own copyright on two substantially identical works if it determined that the duplication was coincidental and neither was copied from other.

ENFORCEMENT :

Copyrights enforced in a civil law court but there are also criminal infringement statutes in some jurisdictions. The Criminal sanctions or law are generally at serious counterfeiting activities but now becoming more and more common place as copyright collectives

In most jurisdictions copyright holder must bear cost of enforcing copyright. This will usually involve engaging legal representation court costs. In 1978  scope was expanded to apply any expression that has been fixed in any medium this protection granted automatically whether maker wants it or also not no registration required.

Copyright Infringement :

For a work to be considered to infringe upon copyright its use must have occurred in a nation that has domestic copyright laws to established international convention. Improper use of materials outside of legislation is deemed and know as unauthorized edition not copyright infringement.

Statistics regarding effects of the  copyright infringement are also difficult to determine. According to Studies have attempted to determine whether there is a monetary loss for industries affected by the copyright infringement by predicting what portion of pirated works would have been formally purchased if they not been freely available. Other reports says that copyright infringement does not have an adverse effect on entertainment industry and can have a positive effect.

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RIGHTS GRANTED :

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, copyright protects two types of rights. Economic rights and Moral rights.

According to U.K., US and India

Economic Rights : 

As the Economic Rights allow the right owners to derive the financial reward from the use of their works by the others. 

a) Reproduction of the work in various forms such as printed publications, sound recordings.

b) Distribution of copies of work.

c) Public performance of work.

d) Broadcasting or any other communication of the work to public.

e) Translation of the work into any other languages.

f) Adaptation of the work.

Moral Rights :

Allow authors and creators to take certain actions to protect their link with their work. 

a) Protection of work.

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b) To determine how and under what conditions the work may be marketed, publicly displayed, reproduced, distributed, etc.

c) To produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies.

d) To import or export work.

e) To create derivative works.

f) To perform the work publicly.

g) To sell these rights to others.

h) To transmit by radio, video or internet.

PUBLICPUBLIC DOMAIN :

Copyright like other intellectual property rights and is subject to a statutorily determined term. Once the term of a copyright has expired the formerly copyrighted work enters the public domain and may be used by anyone without obtaining permission, and normally without payment. Courts in common law countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom have rejected the doctrine of common law copyright. Public domain works should not be in confused with works which are publicly available. Works posted in the internet such as  publicly available but are not generally in the public domain.

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CONCLUSION :

Copyrights law has been developing and also changing to provide better protection as well as stronger hold to the owners. Recognition a serious crime not only damaging creative potential but as well as causing economic loss. Awareness among people proper enforcement efficient copyright cells as well as copyright societies can bring down the infringement.

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