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Do Copyright protect Web Content?

Copyright is an exclusive right of an author. It gives the author a right to exclude and control others from copying his work and make earnings out of it without his permission. Every day millions of original works are being published online by the creator. It take no time for others to copy and paste such work and claim it to be its own. Copyright law protects all internet content, irrespective of whether the copyright mark appears on the website.

All content, regardless of its format (digital, print, or other media) are subject to copyright protection. The very first move in securing your works published online is to determine the scope of protection provided to the copyright owners and, at the same time it will also assist you in avoiding infringing on the rights of other authors. Accidental plagiarism also has the same negative consequences as intentional plagiarism and may land a person in trouble. This article shall deal with the various concepts relating to the protection of web content under Copyright law.

What is a Copyright?

Copyright is a category of intellectual property that preserves original works of authorship until they have been fixed in a tangible mode of expression by the creator. Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protect originality of work derived from the author. Copyrighting is only possible for those types of works that meet the standards of copyright law.

Books, documents, works of art, sculpture, paintings, poetry, plays, dances, musical arrangements, television and radio shows, computer software, and industrial designs are examples of works that can be copyrighted. Original content on a website may also be copyrighted, but domain names are excluded from the list of items that can be subject to copyright protection.

Types of Digital works protected by Copyright

Copyright Protection for different kinds of Digital Media are as follows:

  1. Photos and digital artwork
  2. Blogs
  3. Digitally made songs
  4. Sound recordings of music,
  5. Movies and video recordings
  6. Computer applications
  7. Websites and website material, such as blogs, social media posts, and concise online articles

Basic principles of Copyright Protection applicable to Digital works

Digital media works are subject to the same copyright principles as all other types of copyright works:

a) Originality

Copyright only protects original works of the author. Original literary, artistic, musical or dramatic, cinematographic films and sound recording including all the digital works are protected by copyright. Here, Original work refers to the work that has not been copied from anywhere else and must be originated from the author’s own intellectual mind.

In the very famous case of University of London Press v. University Tutorial Press [1916] 2 Ch. 601 (U.K.: High Court), the Chancery Division of England, which is also known as “sweat of the brow”, clarified the “originality” test applicable to copyrighted work. The Court ruled that the term originalmust be interpreted as “originality of expression”. The expression of ideas embodied in the original work is protected by copyright law, rather than the ideas themselves. A work must come from the creator in order to be protected by copyright

– which is the legal definition of the term “original”.

b) Creativity

Copyright law requires creativity, which is one of the most basic criteria. A work must be creative in the sense that it must contain something that goes beyond the original in order to satisfy this criteria. Copyright protection would not apply to works that lack some degree of creativity, even though it is created independently by the author.

In Feist Publication Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service [499 U.S. 340, 342 (1991)] case, The Supreme Court encouraged the concept of “creative originality” and established a new test in order to protect those creations which carries minimum level of creativity. This doctrine states that originality exists in a work produced with adequate intellectual creativity and judgement. The level of creativity does not have to be extreme, but for copyright protection, a minimum level of creativity is required.

c) Work must be fixed in tangible form

To qualify a work for a copyright, it must be reduced in some tangible form. Fixation may be the act of writing a work on a sheet of paper, typing a work into a device (assuming it is either placed on a disk or even in RAM), or some other act that allows someone else to perceive the work later. For example, if you write a blog post, podcast, or article, your work is protected by copyright the moment it is put on paper, in a blog post, in an email, or in a film.

You should know: New DIFC Law on Intellectual Property

Is a blog the same as a website?

A blog is a kind of website where you or those working for your company contribute original content. A blog, like a webpage, can be copyright protected. Databases (both electronic and paper files) are still protected by copyright, as long as the author shows some creativity in the arrangement or collection of the data.

Why to Protect Online Content from copying by others?

Copyright is relevant in all types of media because it establishes legal control of one’s work. This gives the author, artist, or other creator of the work ultimate authority over how it is used. Without proper protection, content may be taken by one creator and used by another, allowing someone other than the creator to benefit from content that they did not create. It is important to keep a close monitor on the work and how it is accessed by someone on the internet as it is the copyright holder’s duty to make sure that a copyright has not been infringed upon. In such scenario, copyright is particularly relevant in the case of web content. Anything may be copied from one blog to another with a single click of the “copy” tab.

How Copyright helps to protect web content?

Everything protected by copyright, whether in writing or as a photograph, cannot be reproduced or published without the author’s explicit (usually written) permission. Copyright protection occurs as soon as an author produces an original work and fixes it in a physical medium, so information does not need to have a copyright notice or mark attached to it to be copyrighted. The content on your website is important, particularly if it generates revenue for

you. As a result, it’s essential to keep it safe from anyone who might copy and republish it without your permission. This will assist you in maintaining the credibility of your website and company while also preventing sales loss. In terms of copyright protection, the contents of a webpage are no different from the contents of a book or magazine. The content on your website is important, particularly if it generates revenue for you. As a result, it’s critical to keep it safe from anyone who might copy and redistribute it without your permission. This will assist you in maintaining the credibility of your website and company while also preventing sales loss.

In the case of Land Nordrhein-Westfalen v Dirk Renckhoff (C-161/17), the European court ruled that the website owner is responsible for ensuring that their pages do not carry any images or other material that has been copied without permission from other websites, as this constitutes copyright infringement.

You may want to know: Protection of intellectual property

It is necessary to copyright web content?

If the work is original, owned by the author, and clearly defined, website content counts as intellectual property that can be copyrighted. Your website is considered to be secured under copyright from the moment it goes “online” on a server; you do not need to register the copyright for it to work. It is not mandatory to file or even post a copyright notice for your website’s content. Showing who owns the content and when it was made, on the other hand, makes it clear that it is secured. Almost all internet content is protected under the same copyright laws as non- digital, “offline” content. Copying content from a website and republishing it on another website or in a newsletter, for example, may be a violation of the website’s creator’s rights.

How long copyrighted work is protected?

The copyright in the UAE is valid during the author’s lifetime and for twenty-five calendar years after his death, according to Article 20 of Federal Law No. (40) for the Protection of Intellectual Works and Copyright.)

The purpose of this article is to provide a general overview of the subject. Regarding your personal situation, you can seek expert guidance. HHS Dubai lawyers and legal consultants are specialized in dealing with the cases relating to the infringement of copyright. You can contact us for further consultation.

M. Al Khatem

Trademark & Intellectual Property

M. Al Khatem is a senior Trademark and Intellectual Property (IP) expert in HHS Lawyers. He has handled some of the firm’s complex, high-profile cases – many involving the protection of trademark and IP rights.