The strength of Copyright
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Written on 10 December
Copyright arises automatically, as long as there is
originality in the work (not a direct copy) and as long as the work is
fixed in its expression (not merely an idea).
In the UK, copyright can only protect the 8 categories of work
that are listed in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Providing that the work meets these criteria, copyright protection will
be afforded to the work.
For instance, a cartoon may be afforded protection.
The representation of the cartoon is in a 2D drawing, however if this
cartoon is substantially reproduced in a 3D form, such as a toy, then
this can infringe copyright. Although the reproduction of the cartoon
is in a 3D form the copyright owner has the exclusive economic right to
reproduce the work and this includes to another dimension.
An example of this was seen in the House of Lords decision in
the 'Popeye Case' (King Features Syndicate, Incorporated, and Another
Appellants; v O. and M. Kleeman, Limited Respondents  A.C. 417)
where the popular cartoon 'Popeye' was recreated in the form of dolls
This case found that the "defendants' dolls and brooches were
reproductions in a material form of the plaintiffs' original artistic
work and were not the less so because they were copied, not directly
from any sketch of the plaintiffs, but from a reproduction in material
form derived directly or indirectly from the original work, and that s.
22 of the Copyright Act, 1911, did not operate to bring an existing
copyright to an end or to absolve pirates from the offence of piracy."
The effect of this decision means that if you own copyright in
a 2D image you will also have copyright in the 3D representation of
that image. The 'Popeye Case' enforces the strength of copyright and
acts as a reminder that despite copyright being a non-registerable
intellectual property right, copyright can still yield great power.
About the Author
Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation,
commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We
are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual
Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the
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Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-01-20 13:39:34 in Legal Articles