Protection of copyright in literary and artistic works

Copyright law protects the interests of creators by granting them property rights in their creations against those who copy, reproduce, or take or use the form in which the original work was expressed. According to article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. To govern copyright, an international agreement, namely the “Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works” was adopted in 1886, which officially mandated several aspects of modern copyright. The convention introduced the concept that a copyright exists at the time a work is “fixed”.

According to the Berne Convention, copyright protection is obtained automatically without the need for registration or other formalities. According to Article 15 of the Copyright Act (the Law), 2000 copyrights subsist in original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works; motion pictures; and sound recordings. Registration of copyright under the law is not compulsory in Bangladesh. The registration of any work under this Act only establishes At first glance proof of ownership in the event of a dispute. Copyright is an automatic right that exists at the time a work is fixed, first published or recorded and no formalities are required to acquire this exclusive right under the law.

Copyright subsists in any literary or artistic work published during the author’s lifetime until sixty years after the author’s death. To benefit from copyright protection, a work must be original. Anything that is done like the others or under the direction of another cannot be treated as an original work. . In the case of Donoghue v. Allied Newspapers Ltd [1938] Ch. 106, the High Court of the United Kingdom held that a simple amanuensis, noting word for word the language of the author, in no way becomes the owner of the copyright.

According to article 17 of the law, the author of a work is the first owner of copyright. However, if an author works as an employee of a publisher, in accordance with section 17 (a) of the law, the publisher is the primary owner of the copyright in the work to the extent that the Copyright law relates to the publication of the work. or the reproduction of the work. But in all other respects, the author is the first owner of copyright in the work, unless otherwise agreed.

The author or publisher of, or the owner of, or any other person interested in copyrighting a work may file an application with the Registrar of the Copyright Office for registration of the work. . There is no limitation period for filing such an application for registration of copyright under the Act.

There are two types of rights that derive from copyright such as: economic rights, which allow the rights holder to derive financial benefit from the use of his works by others, and moral rights which allow the author to take certain measures to preserve privacy. link between him and the work.

It is relevant to mention here that moral rights can never be transferred in any way and always remain with the original author of the work. However, economic rights can be transferred or assigned to others, usually for a sum of money or royalties depending on the proposed use of the work. If the duration of the assignment is not indicated in the deed of assignment, in accordance with Article 19 (5) of the Law, the duration of the assignment is deemed to be five years from the date of the assignment. .

The copyright owner has the right to seek legal redress against any infringement or infringement that has occurred from the date of publication of the work under the law. In accordance with article 81 of the law, the copyright owner can bring a civil action to claim compensation for copyright infringement in the court of the district judge within the local limits of the jurisdiction of which he resides. actually and willfully or carries on business or works personally for gain. Pursuant to Section 92 of the Act, the copyright owner may file a complaint with a Court of Sessions regarding infringements, as referred to in the Act, if applicable.

Although we have a strong legal framework for copyright protection in Bangladesh, due to lack of copyright protection awareness, many authors lose their first copyright ownership while working in the part of a job and, on the other hand, many publishers lose their rights by failing to establish an employment relationship – because they do not execute a written agreement or issue a letter of appointment.

That is, copyright protection has been a matter of great concern in the context of Bangladesh. The government and the concerned authority should take more initiatives to raise awareness of intellectual property rights, otherwise, creative people and creativity will not flourish.

The author is a company lawyer.


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