IRE Intellectual Property Law: Copyright
An in-depth analysis of Lord Hoffman’s statement and the text of the judgement provide three key premises. The premises are as follows; 1. Copyright protects the “expression of the idea” as opposed to the “idea” itself. 2. The skill and labour that an artist puts into expressing the idea determines whether it will be deemed as an original piece of work or not. 3. In order to infringe a copyright one has to copy a whole or a ‘substantial part’ of that work, however substantiality cannot be determined by setting out the details of what has been copied and reviewing each item individually, the details have to be viewed as a holistic piece of work to consider if it forms a substantial part of that work. “The role played by the component in the allegedly infringing work is irrelevant, and that substantiality is related to the qualities that give the copied work its originality” This essay is in agreement with Lord Hoffman on these three premises, the essay provides significant flesh around the issues of originality and substantial taking before proceeding to look at the key case which forms the basis of the question. The essay utilises established UK case law, UK statute and legal thinking from other jurisdictions to provide clarity on the points while concluding that any deviation in the rules as currently set out will not only lead to the restriction of creativity but also to a major burden on the courts through an opening of the floodgates.
Introduction to Intellectual Property Law
Copyright law is an element of an area of law known as Intellectual Property Law, (IP Law). IP law deals with intangible rights protecting the products of human intelligence and creation and can be broken down into four key areas of law namely Patents, Trademarks, Design law and Copyrights. Patents
Patents protect solutions and are put in place to solve technical problems; (inventions) and can be processes or products. Patents must be granted by the relevant jurisdictional patent issuing authority and are governed in the UK by the Patents Act of 1977. Trademarks
A trademark is a form of brand identifier which allows consumers to distinguish between the goods and services of different manufacturers. Trademarks are required to be licensed and are governed by statute, with the main statute in the UK being the Trade Marks Act 1994. Design law
Design law protects the way a commercially produced article is presented, i.e. its looks or functionality. Designs can either be protected by registration in relation to aesthetic designs, automatically based on the creation of a design document or an article which captures the functional or technical design. The main source of legislation for Designs is the Registered Designs Act 1949 and Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988). Copyright law:
Copyright law focuses on protecting mainly artistic and aesthetic creations such as artistic works, dramatic, musical and literary which are classed as ‘original’ works along with derivative works like sound recordings, broadcasts, typographical arrangement of a published work, films etc. Copyright also now protects modern and new age media such as computer programs, databases etc. Unlike patents, copyrights do not require formal registration and arise naturally from protectable work, it is said that copyrights ‘subsist’ in the creation of the work. A copyright is mainly a negative right which prevents others from making copies of the work of an author. The main statute protecting copyright in the UK is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) Originality of Work and Substantial taking
The CPDA 1988 refers to the word “work”, which requires the creation to have involved labour, skill and effort. In the case of Ladbroke Football Ltd v William Hill1, it was held that “Originality is present if there has been the exercise of a sufficient degree (small degree) of...
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