A more recent version of these Introduction To Copyright Law notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.
The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Intellectual Property Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:
1. Is this a type of qualifying material which is capable of being protected by copyright?
a) b) c)
A protected work?
2. Was the work created by a qualifying person?
3. Who owns the copyright and what is its duration?
4. Have the owner's rights been infringed by D performing a restricted act?
5. Permitted acts and defences?
______________________________________________________________________________________________ 'Copyright': Describes the area of IP law that regulates the creation and use that is made of a range of cultural goods, such as books, songs, films and computer programs. Copyright is an unregistered right, meaning that protection arises automatically without having to satisfy any formalities. Mandated by Article 5(2) of the Berne Convention. Makes it easier and less expensive to acquire and maintain copyright protection than other IPRs. Separation of copyright and physical ownership - Although copyright is a property right, it is limited in time. Ownership of a physical copy of a copyright work does NOT imply ownership of the copyright itself; so I cannot make copies. E.g. You cannot publish letters sent to you. Idea-Expression dichotomy - Copyright does not exist in the ideas themselves, but only in the forms they are expressed in. TRIPS Art 9(2): 'Copyright protection shall extend to expressions and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such'. United States Copyright Act 1976: 'In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in the work.' UK embodies the principle through common law:
1Jeffery's v. Boosey (1855); + Erle J: 'the claim is not to ideas but to the order of words, and this order has a marked identity and a permanent endurance...the order of each man's words is as singular as his countenance, and although if two authors composed originally with the same order of words, each would have a property therein, still the probability of such an occurrence is less than there should be two countenances that could not be discriminated'.*Nova v. Mazooma Games ; N had CR in a computer game simulating games of pool. Trial judge said he could see there was similar features of the game but not substantial copying. Ideas are not protected. TRIPS lays down positive rule that copyright protection does not extend to ideas. Nova had simply been inspired. It had emulated but did not copy any programme code so was legitimate.
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