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Works Excluded from Copyright Protection


Works Excluded from Copyright Protection
Works Excluded from Copyright Protection

Works Excluded from Protection


While there isn't a specific category of work expressly excluded from protection under the Act, court decisions elucidate that copyright doesn't subsist in thoughts, ideas, or natural or historical events.


Copyright is said to subsist in the 'form' and not the 'idea'. Thus, copyright only exists in the material form in which ideas are expressed.



Copyright and Ideas

In the legal context, copyright is contingent upon the tangible expression of an idea. In the landmark case of Donoghue v. Allied Newspaper Ltd., it was emphasised that copyright only arises when an idea is reduced to writing or another tangible form of expression, not merely when it exists as a concept.



Expression vs. Idea

In the realm of literary works, the unique selection of words by an author to convey ideas is integral. The test to distinguish between expression and idea involves a legal assessment following thorough investigation.

 
 

Natural and Historical Events

Natural or historical events, being common property, are not copyrightable per se. However, the specific manner in which these events are depicted or presented may render them copyrightable.



Judicial Pronouncements

Judicial pronouncements, including those of the Supreme Court, are not subject to copyright as they are part of the public domain. Reproduction and publication of such pronouncements do not constitute copyright infringement.



Donoghue v. Allied Newspaper Ltd.: This case highlighted that copyright only arises when an idea is reduced to writing or another tangible form of expression.



RC Anand v. Mis. Deluxfilms: Established that a mere concept cannot be granted copyright protection.



Sanjay Gupta v. Sony Pictures Networks India P Ltd: Reiterated the principle that a mere concept is not eligible for copyright protection.



Eastern Book Company v. D.B. Modak: The Supreme Court ruled that judicial pronouncements, being part of the public domain, are not copyrightable. However, headnotes or editorial notes of judgments are considered original literary works and are protected under the Act.

 
 




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