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CLARIFICATIONS REGARDING COPY RIGHT QUERIES AND SUGGESTIONS RECIEVED

Regarding copyright queries being asked by many I quote Supreme court Judgement observations herein below in the case of Eastern Book Company & Ors. Vs D.B. Modak & Anr. AIR 2008 SC 809, the Hon’ble Supreme court headed by Justice B.N. AGRAWAL & Justice P.P. NAOLEKAR observes in the following words and explains in detail and clarifies the position of law as to the copyright in Judgements of courts “In the absence of any agreement to the contrary, the Government shall be the first owner of the copyright in the judgments of the Supreme Court, the same being a Government work in terms of Section 2(k) of the Act. …………… The judicial pronouncements of the Apex Court would be in the public domain and its reproduction or publication would not infringe the copyright. The reproduction or publication of the judgments delivered by the Supreme Court by any number of persons would not be infringement of a copyright of the first owner thereof, namely, the Government, unless it is prohibited…………………. The judicial pronouncements of the Apex Court would be in the public domain and its reproduction or publication would not infringe the copyright. That being the position, the copy-edited judgments would not satisfy the copyright merely by establishing amount of skill, labour and capital put in the inputs of the copy-edited judgments and the original or innovative thoughts for the creativity are completely excluded. Accordingly, original or innovative thoughts are necessary to establish copyright in the author's work. The principle where there is common source the person relying on it must prove that he actually went to the common source from where he borrowed the material, employing his own skill, labour and brain and he did not copy, would not apply to the judgments of the courts because there is no copyright in the judgments of the court, unless so made by the court itself. ………………………... To secure a copyright for the judgments delivered by the court, it is necessary that the labour, skill and capital invested should be sufficient to communicate or impart to the judgment printed in the Report, SCC, some quality or character which the original judgment does not possess and which differentiates the original judgment from the printed one. The Copyright Act is not concerned with the original idea but with the expression of thought. Copyright has nothing to do with originality or literary merit. Copyrighted material is that what is created by the author by his own skill, labour and investment of capital, maybe it is a derivative work which gives a flavour of creativity. The copyright work which comes into being should be original in the sense that by virtue of selection, co-ordination or arrangement of pre-existing data contained in the work, a work somewhat different in character is produced by the author. ……………………….. It is clarified that the decision of this Court would be confined to the judgments of the courts which are in the public domain as by virtue of Section 52 of the Act there is no copyright in the original text of the judgments……………………… Although for establishing a copyright, the creativity standard applies is not that something must be novel or non-obvious, but some amount of creativity in the work to claim a copyright is required. It does require a minimal degree of creativity. Arrangement of the facts or data or the case law is already included in the judgment of the court. Therefore, creativity of the Report, SCC, would only be addition of certain facts or material already published, case law published in another law report and its own arrangement and presentation of the judgment of the court in its own style to make it more user- friendly. …………… when the editor has put an input whereby different Judges' opinion has been shown to have been dissenting or partly dissenting or concurring, etc. It also requires reading of the whole judgment and understanding the questions involved and thereafter finding out whether the Judges have disagreed or have the dissenting opinion or they are partially disagreeing and partially agreeing to the view on a particular law point or even on facts. In these inputs put in by the appellants in the judgments reported in the Report, the appellants have a copyright and nobody is permitted to utilize the same. …………….. It is further directed that the defendant-respondents shall not use the paragraphs made by the appellants in their copy-edited version for internal references and their editor's judgment regarding the opinions expressed by the Judges by using phrases like `concurring', `partly dissenting', etc. on the basis of reported judgments in SCC.”

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