Dr. Nawa Raj Subba.
An object created by a person using his knowledge, wisdom, and art is called intellectual property. The creations produced in literature, music, art, prose, poetry, drama, and music are intellectual property. For example, writers’ stories, poems, and plays are their intellectual property. Likewise, any song is the intellectual property of the lyricist, music composer, and singer. Copyright laws protect these intellectual properties.
Intellectual Property Day is celebrated on April 26 every year around the world. There is no need to go around the city carrying placards or banners to commemorate this day. If possible, intellectuals can sit together and discuss this. Even sitting alone, you can make the day worthwhile by thinking about its values and beliefs.
Everything created by man with his intellect is Intellectual Property. However, tangible or intangible creations or intellectual property expressions must be original. After this, this right automatically accrues to the creator whether the item is of good quality, useful, or valuable or not.
The initiator does not have to complete any formality to get such a right. However, arrangements have been made to register to keep public records or to provide evidence voluntarily. In Nepal, the provisions regarding this are provided in the Copyright Act 2059 and the Copyright Regulations 2061. The Office of Nepal Copyright Registrar has been established to implement the above laws and regulations.
Intellectual property can generally be divided into (1) Copyright and (2) Industrial Property Rights. The Copyright protects writing, art, and creation, among other things. Patent rights cover creative work. For example, the original design of the product is protected by design copyrights. A manufacturer uses a special trademark to distinguish his goods and services from others. Intellectual property rights protect it.
Copyright areas include human creation and nativity. From one point of view, this area is unlimited; however, intellectual property has been classified as follows to organize it. (1) Writing: articles, essays, novels, stories, poems, plays, textbooks, webpages, advertising messages, music, and dance cues, etc. (2) Musical works: songs, music, etc. (3) Artistic work: painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, map, sketch, etc. (4) Dramatic or dance works: plays, operas, dances, etc. (5) Cinematic works: movies, video games, television shows, cartoons, etc. (6) Computer design: computer programs, software, etc.
According to the Copyright Convention, there are generally two main types of Copyright: (1) Economic rights and (2) Moral rights. For example, a creator has the right to benefit from the income derived from the creation. On the other hand, the law also protects the creator’s name or the right to get it. In addition, the creator has the right to receive all rights or dividends.
Economic rights include provisions for reproducing, translating, changing style, distributing, broadcasting, and public communication. Moral rights include the right to maintain the fame, honour, and reputation of one’s creation. It preserves the author’s ownership of the right to use either the real name or a fictitious name in work.
The period of obtaining copyright is also regulated by law. This right is not always available to the creator. State laws limit the duration of copyright protection according to the author or type of work. After the protection period expires, such works become public property. The Copyright Convention has set the minimum condition that copyright should be protected for the author’s lifetime and 50 years after death. Some countries have set a period longer than this period. In the case of an unknown author, the copyright is protected for 50 years from the publication date. It is arranged that if the author of a work is not a person but an organization, then the copyright will last only 50 years from the publication date.
Under copyright, no composition can be used without the owner’s permission. However, in some cases, a special provision that can be used has been made in the copyright law. That s called the principle of good intentions. The conditions under which the work of others may be used are as follows:
- Quoting a small portion of a work
- Using it for teaching purposes
- Communicating news.
- Making a copy for collection or personal use.
- But in the mentioned case, when quoting a small part of another’s work or using another’s work for educational purposes or news, the name and source of the original work or creator must be cited. A copy can be made for personal purposes but cannot be used for commercial or financial gain.
Violation of copyright occurs in different trends and forms. First, it is considered a crime. There are many such crime areas. For example, counterfeiting is called piracy, when a product is sold and distributed by copying other people’s works in whole or in part. Similarly, the trend of dubbing and selling counterfeit copies of other people’s works, such as books, music, movies, computer software, and video games, without permission is called piracy. Nowadays, materials are sold, distributed, and exchanged through digital technology and the internet through downloading, uploading, and PTP file sharing. That has created an additional challenge in copyright protection.
Much work has been done in intellectual property protection in the world. Rome Convention 1961, World Intellectual Property Copyright Agreement 1996, and World Intellectual Property Enforcement Treaty 1996 are important. Implementing that treaty will help the intellectual creativity of the human race. Future generations will also benefit from this.
All countries must comply with the terms of international treaties on intellectual property. It is found that simple dispute resolution methods, such as conciliation and mediation, can also be adopted. One hundred sixty countries, including Nepal, have signed Bern Convention. According to this, the member states should give the same intellectual property protection to the creations of the citizens of other countries as they give to their own countries.
The World Intellectual Property Organization, a specialized international organization of the United Nations with headquarters in Geneva, has taken responsibility for strengthening this right. The government of Nepal is also committed to this.
Looking at the context of legal remedies, it seems that civil and criminal legal remedies should be arranged to control copyright-related crimes. In addition, it is necessary to control the customs to prevent importing goods from other countries by violating the copyright.
Finally, every owner or author should be aware of their copyright and the rights of others.
- WIPO. Copyright: What is Copyright? Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.wipo.int/copyright/en/
WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) 1996.
- Nepal Copyright Registrar’s Office. A Brief Introduction of Copyright and Its Different Aspects.