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It may good to know about the copyright laws applicability for the legal authors. When we are saying ‘legal authors’ we mean authors writing legal article, Law reports, legal publishers and similar legal literature. We use to quote the judgments in context of our chosen subject. Here we have discussed the applicability of copyright laws in India for legal materials.

Copyright : It is a basic right of the authors which protects the original work created by the him/her. It  ensure that a the creator of the original work should enjoy the rewards and recognition for the work. The protection is ensured by Copyright Act. Copyright act frustrates the ‘copying’ practice at one hand and promote the fair competition for higher level of creativity. The ‘copying’ is not only unethical but it is disadvantageous for civil society because copying frustrates  the talent. Any healthy society should have laws for copyright to promote intellectual effort and competitiveness among its citizens.

Copyright in legal matters :

The Supreme court has discussed the issue of copyright in its landmark judgment of  Estern Book Compnay Vs. D.B. Mandok, 2008. Every legal authors should have a careful  study of this judgment. The Supreme Court has laid down principles which is explained as below :

1) Criteria of Original work : 

-  The work should fall under the category of ‘Sweat of the brow’ approach.

-  Some level of skill and creativity should appear.

-  Should have some degree of originality or creativity.

2) The Entire judgment is considered as in ‘Public Domain’. It means every one can read and take advantage of the same.

3) The Head notes are copyrighted material.

4) Marginal notes are copy righted material.

5) Para references are copy righted material.

6) Authors comments are copyrighted material.

7) Representation or style of presentation is copyrighted material.

8) Compilation material : Where labour or investment made involving a skill  for compilation of the martial then the compilation material can be subjected to copy rights.

9) The work should not be just copied from the another author’s work but it to be derived in context to achieve the involvement of skill for originality.

10) Court have to check the work of skill, labour for the some sort of originality or creativity to decide whether the work falls under the category of copyrighted material or not.



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