Copyright Protection


Copyright Protection Essay, Research Paper

A copyright is the right to produce, reproduce, and transform any original work.

Copyrights are only given to original works that fall under the ?following

seven categories: Literary works, Musical works including accompanying any

works, Dramatic works including accompanying music, Choreographic works,

Graphical and sculptural works, Motion pictures and other audiovisual works,

Sound recordings, and Architectural works?1. Under the Canadian copyright act

any published or unpublished original work upon creation will receive automatic

copyright protection. Though automatic copyright protection is given to original

works the benefits of having one?s copyright registered (Copyright

Registration Application: Page 8 & 9) with the Canadian Intellectual

Property Office (C.I.P.O) is that one receives a certificate of registration

which can be used to one?s advantage in the event of infringement and prove of

ownership in a court law. When any production, reproduction, transformation of a

work is gone without the permission of the owner of a copyrighted work this

becomes copyright infringement. In cases of copyright infringement the

responsibility to report this infringement rests on the owner of the copyrighted

work however the Copyright Act does contain criminal remedies, which apply to

certain types of serious infringement or piracy. The function of copyright laws

in our society today are particularly stringent on copyright infringement and

these laws ought to be reformed to decrease the amount of congestion in civil

litigation surrounding copyright infringement in our legal system. Copyright

laws beginnings started close to three centuries ago. When first implemented its

sole function was to prevent exact replications of written work. During the mid

1800?s, the publishers of the eighteenth-century poet James Thomson?s ?The

Seasons? regularly sued producers of unauthorized, or pirated, editions of the

popular poem, since the publishers obtained the copyrights from James Thomson.

This was the beginning of the extension of rights given to copyright owners.

Eventually the function of the copyrights broadened to include control over

transformation, publication, imitation and unauthorized usage of an original

work. Even when copyrights are transferred from one owner to another the

original copyright owner has what is called ?moral rights being that any

changes to an original work being modification, distortion, mutilation without

the permission of the original author is infringing on the original author?s

moral rights?. 2 The intention of copyrights is based on the fundamental

principle of the necessity to protect all original intellectual property that

fall under the following categories: Literary works, Musical works including

accompanying any works, Dramatic works including accompanying music,

Choreographic works, Graphical and sculptural works, Motion pictures and other

audiovisual works, Sound recordings, and Architectural works. However the

intention of copyright law has become particularly stringent since its

inception. With the multitude of rights and privileges given to authors and

copyright owners of original works the potential for negligence and compliancy

toward informing licensees can occur with the final outcome of this situation

being civil litigation. Negligence and compliancy can occur by the author or

copyright owner by misrepresenting their work as being copyrighted, by labeling

their work with the copyright symbol implying that they are the recognized owner

or author but in actuality the duration of the work has expired therefore the

work has entered public domain. Duration of most copyrighted works lasts for 50

years since the inception of the copyrighted work. In the case of Tams-Witmark

v. New Opera Co., an opera company purchased the right to perform the comic

opera ?The Merry Widow? for $50,000 a year. After a little more-than a year

of performances, the opera company discovered that the supposed copyrighted work

had entered public domain several years before due to the failure of the

copyright owner to renew the copyright. New Opera Co. then ceased paying

royalties, and after being sued by the owner of the abandoned copyright,

counterclaimed for damages in the amount paid to the owner on a breach of

warranty. The trial awarded the opera company $50, 500 in damages, and the court

of appeals affirmed the judgment, finding that ?The Merry Widow? ?passed,

finally, completely and forever into public domain and became freely available

to the unrestricted use of anyone?. This judgment by the New York Courts of

Appeals strongly supported the position that when the warranty of title to a

copyright is breached because the work is in the public domain, the alleged

copyright holder must provide restitution of any payment made by the licensee.

Though this decision protects licensees of paying bogus royalties for supposed

licensing rights and being able to receive restitution for spurious payments but

until copyright infringement laws become less stringent and provide and greater

protection to licensees then the negligence of copyright owners will still exist

and still congest the legal system with civil litigation. The issue of parody is

one focal point to consider in the stringency of Canadian copyright laws. Parody

under the Canadian copyright act is vaguely mentioned and is particularly

stringent on copyright laws and is a model example of the stringency of Canadian

copyright laws comparatively to the United States copyright laws. Parody or

parodies falls under the issue of fair dealing under both the Canadian copyright

act and the U.S copyright act. Under the Canadian copyright act parodies or

criticism fall under section 27 stating that ?The following acts do not

constitute an infringement of copyright: any fair dealing with any work for the

purposes of private study or research; any fair dealing with any works for the

purposes of criticism, review or newspaper summary, if the source, and the

author’s name, if given in the source?. Under section 107 of the U.S copyright

act it states ?fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by

reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that

section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching

(including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not

an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in

any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a

commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of

the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in

relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon

the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work

is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is

made upon consideration of all the above factors?. Section 27 of the Canadian

copyright act is comparatively more stringent then the U.S copyright act on fair

dealing of parodies and the Canadian copyright act does not consider other

factors involved in fair dealing such as the U.S. copyright act does. In the

case of MCA Canada Ltd ? MCA Canada Ltee v. Gilberny and Hawke Advertising,

where an advertising agency prepared a parody of the words ?Downtown? and

used it for radio advertising purposes in Ottawa, it was held to violate MCA

Canada?s copyright had this case been under U.S jurisdiction the case could

have been found not to violate the copyright because of the natured copyrighted

work and the parody being completely two different forms of expression one being

a dramatic work another being a sound recorded work. Another consideration if

this case had been in U.S jurisdiction is that the parody is a derivative work

and that the portion of the derivative work is not substantial of the original

copyrighted work. On the other side of the argument is that even if this case

were held under U.S jurisdiction it would have still resulted in the same

judgment. One consideration to promote this argument is that the derivative work

would be held to violate the original copyrighted work because the purpose of

the parody or derivative work was for commercial use to facilitate the

advertising agency into being able to reap financial gain. Another contributing

factor to promote this argument is the effect of the parody or derivative work

on the original copyrighted work if the derivative work or the parody was found

to have drastic impact on the original copyrighted work then this final

consideration would result in the same judgment as in the Canadian jurisdiction.

Though in this example the case could result either way under the U.S copyright

act still comparatively to the Canadian copyright act the U.S copyright act

provides greater clarity on the copyright doctrine of fair dealing and because

of the vagueness of the doctrine of fair dealing in the Canadian copyright act

the Canadian copyright act becomes more stringent on copyright laws. The U.S

copyright act is significantly less stringent on the issue of parody than

Canadian copyright act because of the poor interpretation of the copyright

doctrine of fair dealing in the Canadian copyright act. The issue of copyright

infringement and the Internet is one key illustration of the stringency of

copyright infringement. The function of copyrights is the protection of

intellectual property of copyright owners or authors in the physical world being

that the responsibility rest on the copyright owner or author unless in the case

of serious copyright infringement or piracy. The Internet is a digital nexus of

information and to apply current stringent copyright laws to the Internet is

heading toward disaster being that copyrighted works can be passed along without

ever taking a transitional physical form and the vast magnitude of the Internet

makes it near impossible to enforce copyright infringement. Recognizing the

inherent difficulty of enforcing copyrights against individual Internet users,

legal action has been taken against Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for legal

liability for copyright infringement on those who allow and enable Internet

copyright pirates to exist, namely the ISPs. Those who take legal action argue

that ISPs profit from the pirates? use of the Internet, and in comparison to

an independent publisher or author, an ISP is in a much better position to

police how its subscribers use the Internet. On the other side of the argument,

ISPs claim that they are passive carriers similar to telecommunications

companies and therefore should be granted some limitation from copyright

infringement liability. There are two forms of copyright infringement

surrounding this issue: direct copyright infringement and secondary copyright

infringement. Secondary copyright infringement is again subdivided into two

categories: contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. Secondary

copyright infringement is applied in instances in which the defendant did not

personally engage in the violating activity but still bears some responsibility

for the infringement. A defendant is liable for ?contributory copyright

infringement if with knowledge of the infringing activity, induces, causes or

materially contributes to the infringing conduct of another.?3 A defendant is

liable for vicarious copyright infringement where the defendant has the right

and ability to control or police the infringer?s acts and receives a direct

financial benefit from the infringement. In the case of Playboy Enterprises Inc.

v. Frena , the defendant was an operator of a computer bulletin board service

that, unknown to the defendant, distributed unauthorized copies of Playboy

Enterprises, Inc.?s (PEI) copyrighted photographs. For a fee, anyone with an

appropriately equipped computer could log onto the BBS, browse through different

BBS directories to look at the pictures, download the high quality computerized

copies of the photographs, and then store the images onto their home computer.

Frena admitted that the materials were displayed on the BBS and that he never

received consent from Playboy. However, Frena argued that he did not personally

upload any of the infringing pictures onto the BBS (his subscribers had uploaded

the images) and that he removed the infringing pictures, as soon he was made

aware of the matter. In this case there was no question that Playboy owned the

copyrights on the photographs due to the fact that at trial, Frena had offered

no evidence to rebuff Playboy?s copyright documentation. The only remaining

issue was whether the defendant?s actions implicated one of the copyright

holders exclusive rights. The court held that Frena?s actions had infringed

Playboy?s exclusive right to display the works. The court held that there was

no question that Frena supplied a product containing unauthorized copies of a

copyrighted work. As for display rights, the court held that Frena?s display

of the copyrighted materials to his subscribers constituted a public display

even though his subscribers were limited in number. Frena defended his use as

within the scope of the fair use exception to copyright infringement. His

argument, however, fell on deaf ears. The court found that Frena?s actions

were commercial in nature and of the sort that if they were to become widespread

would result in a substantially adverse impact on the potential market for or

value of the plaintiff?s work and therefore were not within the fair use

exception. Though the Copyright Act was effective in providing clarification on

this case. The problem in general is the liability of Internet Service Providers

has not been clearly established and the enforcement of the law remains a

problem. In this issue the stringency of traditional copyright laws are

inherently difficult to be applicable to this new technology because of the

scale of the Internet. The basis of Copyright laws is on the fundamental notion

of protection of intellectual property. This fundamental notion of protection of

intellectual property serves a broader purpose today then ever before, as it is

a moral, social, and economic barrier to infringe on the owner?s of original

works. This fundamental concept of protection of intellectual property has

become distorted to the point where the fundamental principles of copyrights

have been abandoned by our society. This epidemic of copyright civil litigation

in our legal system becomes that ?when copyrights give control to one person,

it extracts some measure of freedom to imitate from everyone else?

New York: Hill and Wing, 1994 Barber, Hoyt, and Logan, Robert. Protect Your

Intellectual Property. Toronto: Productive Publications, 1999 Industry Canada. A

guide to Copyrights, Ottawa: Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data, 1994

Wright, Amy and McDaniel, Jeff. Recent Developments in Copyright Law, Texas:

Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal, fall 1995, Volume 4, No. 1

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