Copyright

Copyright law protects the interests of creators by giving them property rights over their creations against those who copy, reproduce or otherwise 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. For governing copyright, an international agreement namely, ‘the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works’ was adopted in 1886 which formally mandated several aspects of modern copyright law. The convention introduced the concept that a copyright exists the moment a work is ‘fixed’.
 

According to the Berne Convention, copyright protection is obtained automatically without the need for registration or other formalities. According to section 15 of the Copyright Act (the Act), 2000 copyright subsists in original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works; cinematograph films; and sound recordings. Copyright registration under the Act is not mandatory in Bangladesh. Registration of any work under this Act establishes only a prima facie evidence of ownership in case of disputes. Copyright is an automatic right which exists the moment a work is fixed, first published or recorded and no formalities are required for acquiring such exclusive right under the Act.
 

Copyright subsists in any literary or artistic work published within the lifetime of the author until sixty years after the author dies. To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be original. Anything done like others do or with others’ direction cannot be treated as an original work. . In the case of Donoghue v. Allied Newspapers Ltd [1938] Ch. 106, the UK High Court held that a mere amanuensis does not, by taking down word for word the language of the author, become in any sense the owner of the copyright.
 

Though we have strong legal framework for copyright protection in Bangladesh, due to lack of awareness about copyright protection, many authors lose their first ownership of copyright working under employment and, on the other hand, many publishers lose their rights failing to establish employment relationship — as they neither execute written agreement nor issue appointment letter.

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