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SP Library

Copyright Guide: Copyright

1. What is Copyright?

1.1 Copyright is an intellectual property right. Copyright applies to original works and subject matter other than works.

 1.2 Works – LDMA (“authors’ works”)

L -- Literary
This includes text in books, articles in periodicals, compilation works (not just tables
and listings but multimedia works are considered a type of compilation work as well)
and computer programs.

D -- Dramatic
This includes scripts or scenarios for plays or films.

M -- Musical
This includes musical scores.

A -- Artistic
This includes paintings, sculpture, drawings, engravings, photographs, a building or model of a building. Drawings include any diagram, map, chart or plan. 

1.3  Subject Matter other than Works (Works refer to LDMA as stated above) (“entrepreneurial works”)

Sound Recordings
Cinematograph Films
Sound and TV Broadcasts
Cable Programmes
Published editions of works (the publisher will have copyright in the font, layout, design and other features in the edition. These rights are different from the copyright the author would have in the text i.e. literary work. Usually however the author would have assigned all his/her rights in the literary work to the publisher).

All the above in 1.2 and 1.3 enjoy copyright protection regardless of their literary, artistic or other merit.  

1.4  The person who owns the copyright has the exclusive right to stop others from copying or reproducing the authors’ work (1.2) or entrepreneurial work (1.3). This right is legally enforceable. In fact, the law sets out a comprehensive list of acts, which may be done only by or with the permission of the copyright owner. The Copyright Act states that only the copyright owner can do any of the following in relation to his copyright material:

 A.  reproduce (photocopying, printing, digitizing etc)
 B.  publish
 C.  perform the work in public
 D.  broadcast
 E.  include the material in a cable programme
 F.  make an adaptation of the material (adaptation has a legal meaning which is more restrictive than the ordinary meaning of the word. It means converting a dramatic work into a non-dramatic form or vice-versa, creating a version of an existing computer programme,translations of literary works and transcription of musical works). 


1.5  Copyright does not protect the idea or substance underlying a work or other subject matter. It protects the form in which the idea is expressed. Take the case of a person wanting to write a book on mathematics. The basic ideas would be derived from the existing pool of written knowledge on mathematics. This would not be an infringement if different styles, approaches, examples, and expressions apart from those found in existing books or other material are involved in creating the new work.