Semantron 23 Summer 2023

Copyright law

and artistic domain. However, article 2(3) declares that: Translations, adaptations, arrangements of music and other alterations of a literary or artistic work shall be protected as original works without prejudice to the copyright in the original work. This means that these will not be regarded as infringement as they are considered original work. This allows more freedom and encourages all forms of creation. For instance, music can be rearranged and it will be considered as an original work by the arranger and therefore not copyright infringement. There were heated debates and controversy in the UK prior to the establishment of this convention in 1886. Sir Thomas Farrer believed that the existing law, including the Statute of Anne, was more than sufficient in protecting the interest of local authors. 9 However, British authors were concerned that piracy from other countries may occur, hence it is necessary to set up the convention to protect their efforts and work. The Berne Convention contains a principle of ‘national treatment’. 10 If the infringing party is located in a country that is a member of the treaty, the copyright owner, who is located in a different country, has the right to bring an action in the country of the infringer and be treated as a national citizen in that country and carry forward the proceedings of the case. The plaintiff may receive damages for the financial loss or a percentage of the gains made from their work and an injunction can also be granted. This is a key aspect of the treaty as it allows overseas cases to be handled more efficiently and effectively by removing the obstacles of a ‘ foreign party ’ .

Who benefits from the right?

The original objective of establishing copyright law was to protect the original work of the author. Regardless of whether the party is a multinational corporation or a minority of society, they should be treated equally and fairly. In one case an online Chinese publisher claimed that Apple failed to manage and control infringements by third-party apps that were available in the App Store. Over 460 publications belonging to the publishers with a value of around £8 million were being made available through 3 rd -party online platforms, infringing the copyright of the publisher. The court ruled that ‘ Apple did not fulfil its due diligence; it is therefore at fault; the conduct involved in the case constitutes infringement. ’ 11 It is Apple’s duty to ensure that apps available on the App store do not infringe copyright and by allowing the third parties to use their software platform, they are responsible for the infringements that arose. Apple eventually paid £100,000 as compensation. Although the underlying principle of the law matters, the costs of litigation and procedure may be unaffordable for most lower to middle-class citizens. The major reason for the high legal cost is due to the enormous volume of documents disclosure and evidence required for proving the creation process.

9 Deazley, R. (2008) ‘Commentary on International Copyright Act 1886', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450- 1900) , eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, (Accessed: 03 April 2022). 10 LexisNexis and Squire Sanders (2012) International Aspects of Copyright. Available at: copyright/files/international-aspects-of-copyright-practice%20note/fileattachment/international-aspects-of- copyright-practice-note.pdf (Accessed: 21 November 2021). 11 Huan, Z. (2021) ‘ Chinese Court Fines Apple for Copyright Infringement in Latest Round of Litigation’. China Trade Monitor, 07 November . Available at: copyright-infringement-litigation/ (Accessed at: 19 February 2022).


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