Section 13 of the Copyright Act provides that copyright shall subsist throughout India in certain classes of works which are enumerated in the section. Copyright subsists throughout India in the following classes of works:
- Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works;
- Cinematograph films; and
- Sound recordings.
In Macmillan and Company Limited v. K. and J. Cooper, AIR 1924 PC 75, it was held that the word ‘original’ does not mean that the work must be the expression of original or inventive thought. Copyright Acts are not concerned with the origin of ideas, but with the expression of thought; and in the case of ‘literary work, with the expression of thought in print or writing. The originality which is required relates to the expression of the thought; but the Act does not require that the expression must be in an original or novel form, but that the work must not be copied from another work—that it should originate from the author. What is the precise amount of the knowledge, labour, judgement or literary skill or taste which the author of any book or other compilation must bestow upon its composition in order to acquire copyright in it within the meaning of the
Copyright Act cannot be defined in precise terms. In every case, it must depend largely on the special facts of that case, and must in each case be very much a question of degree.
In Camlin Private Limited v. National Pencil Industries, (2002) Del, Delhi High Court held that copyright subsists only in an original literary work. But it is not necessary that the work should be the expression of the original or inventive thought, for Copyright Act are not concerned with the originality of ideas, but with the expression of thought, and in the case of a literary work, with the expression of thought in print or writing.
Originality for the purpose of copyright law relates to the expression of thought, but such expression need not be original or novel. The essential requirement is that the work must not be copied from another work but must originate from the author.
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