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Joint Authorship in Copyright Law

Joint Authorship in Copyright Law

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Generally, a copyright in any written work illustrates that the other has all the legal right of ownership. If two or more authors come together with the intent of combining their work into interdependent parts, then the work is considered joint and the authors termed as copyright owners of the work since the work is seen as whole piece. However, if a single person authors an entire book and another person contributes only a chapter to that book, then that is not considered joint work because the contributions are not inseparable.  In UK, ownership of the copyright varies with situations under which the work in question was created. For instance, if an employee creates a work in the course of his or her employment, then the employer has the copyright of the work.

Joint authorship demands the finished work does not have instinct and separate work of the authors. Otherwise, it would seizes to be joint work but a collective work and each author has the copyright to section they contributed. In UK under 1988 Act, the authors of the work have the first owner of copyright. Each copyright is legally allowed to use the copyright as long as the other copyright owners get equal share. This implies that all copyright holders must be consulted; 

otherwise there would be infringement of copyright. For example, is a book written by two or more authors, each of the authors have a copyright to the book.   The CDPA 1988 also considers films as having joint authorship between the producer and the principal director, unless the two are one person. 

 According to 1988 Act, the three requirements for joint authorship include contribution, collaboration, and distinct contribution. Each author must have contributed substantially to final work and not necessarily in the same extent. Secondly, the authors must have had collaboration in producing the work. The plan and the design must incorporate every author. Finally, the contributions of each author must not be distinct from the entire work. 

 Consider the case 

between Robin Ray v. Classic FM under Justice Lightman. Robin Ray (Plaintiff) has sued Classic FM (Defendant) for infringement of the copyright of the five documents, the database, and the catalogue. While Robin had the copyright for the Five Documents and the Catalogue, they were not co-authors with Classic FM in the databases. According to section 9(1) and 10(1) of the CPDA 1988, it was found that the defendant did not meet the requirements of joint authorship in the five documents and the catalogue. The court also ruled that the Plaintiff was not a joint author in the database. Despite having contributed ideas that were included in the five documents and the catalogue, the defendant was not responsible for the authorship and did not participate in the way those ideas were written down.  The inclusions of the input of the defendant’s representatives were not sufficient enough to claim ownership. The judge ruled that the defendant had indeed infringed on the copyright of the plaintiff. The case brought clearly the three main requirements for joint authorship; contribution, collaboration, and distinct contribution. The defendant failed on the second requirement by failing to be part and parcel of the actual design and plan of the documents in question. Suggesting ideas without being involved in the final form of the does not qualify one to be a joint author. 

 Another case involved Cala Homes v 

Aflred McAlpine Homes East Ltd under Justice Laddie. In this case, there were five plaintiffs (referred as Cala Homes) and the defendant Alfred McAlpine Homes East Ltd. The plaintiff claimed copyright of the drawings and designs of houses in various sites in UK.  The plaintiff accused the defendant of copyright infringement in the design of the floor plains and elevations. The plaintiff further claimed that the Crawley Hodgson drawings were a work of joint authorship between Crawley and Mr. Date according to section 10 (1) of CPDA 1988. Therefore, for Aflred McAlpine Homes to reproduce such drawings either in form or houses without the consent of the plaintiff it had infringed on the plaintiff’s copyright. In other words, the plaintiff claimed equitable ownership of the copyright. The plaintiff therefore claims joint ownership because Mr. Date, its employee, is a co-author of the designs of the floor plans and elevators. Even 

though, Mr. Date did none of the drawings, it was evident that he provided the finer details of the designs through sketches to the Crawley Employees. Therefore, he qualified as a joint author of the design. The court ruled that indeed, the copyright of the plaintiff had been infringed by the defendant, and a determination to be made on the extent of the damage. 

 Interlego AG v Tyco Industries (1988). In this case, the plaintiff (Interlego AG) filed a case against Tyco industries (Defendant) for infringing in their copyright Lego Bricks. Since it had registered its bricks design, the copyright protection rights were not cumulative with the protection of a registered design. The court ruled that the plaintiff did not qualify for copyright protection because its design lacked originality. The court states that copyright protection requires that the work have totality of originality. 

 UK government is very strict on joint authorship copyright. A work only qualifies for copyright if the author qualifies for copyright. CDPA 1988 allows for the transmissible of copyright by the operation of law. For instance, if a joint author dies his or her interest is automatically vested on the remaining authors. According to section 16 (2), copyright infringement occurs when one author permits another person to do acts that contravenes the copyright without consulting the first copyright owner. In case of joint ownership, each of the copyright holders must give their consent in using any of their documents. Otherwise, any one author is liable to take a legal action against other authors for copyright infringement as provided in section 16 (2) and section 173 (2). Therefore, permission must be sought from all authors in order to exploit the assignment. A copyright owner has the right to bring a case in case of infringement. 

Fri Nov 30 12:57:28 +0000 2018

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