Copyright Law

Body: 

 

Copyright” concept in general

The term “Copyright” means right to copy. It is a legal term enacted by the legislators of the state. It provides exclusive right to the creators of the creative works for limited time. The copyright empowers the authors or creators to keep control over their own creations in their life and their heirs for a limited time. This allows them to get payments for any reproduction of their works in that limited time. The purpose of giving authors or creators such monopoly is to encourage the creative works. U.S. constitution describes this purpose in Article I, Section 8, as to “promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” (J. Murrey Atkins Library, n.d.). However, they can sell their copyright to others or grant permission someone else to use their works in return of payment or not.  The copyright law also provides some exceptions which allow others to use copyright protected works without permission.

 

Key Points on Copyright                                   

  • Copyright law protects creators of original works.
  • The original works, which are tangible form or fixed, are protected by copyright laws.
  • Duration of copyright varies from country to country. The works are protected by the Bangladesh Copyright Act until sixty years after the death of creators.
  • Most other features are almost similar in the countries which signed Berne Convention.
  • The copyright law contains a number of provisions for use of protected works without seeking permission from the copyright owners.

 

Type of Works Protected by Copyright

When someone creates an original product, with his/her significant mental activities, that becomes his/her intellectual property and that is protected by the law. Examples of unique creations are:

 

  • Computer software
  • Art works
  • Literary works
  • Graphic designs
  • Musical lyrics and compositions
  • Films
  • Architectural designs
  • Photographs
  • Website content
  • Translations/adaptations
  • Broadcasts, etc.

 

Type of Rights Protected by Copyright Law

Bangladesh Copyright Act 2000 describes different provisions of rights (Hosen, 2017), such as:

  • Computer programs and digital media copyrights
  • Rental rights
  • Literature related rights
  • Dramatic rights
  • Musical rights
  • Artistic rights
  • Cinematograph rights
  • Sound recordings rights
  • Broadcasting rights
  • Performer’s rights
  • Phonograms rights, etc.

 

 

Copyright Protection of Foreign Works

 

Countries who signed Berne Convention, an international treaty, and other similar treaties have almost similar copyright protection rules. Berne Convention states a principle of National Treatment. Under this National Treatment provision, all member countries must afford copyright protection to authors who are nationals of any member country. Currently 193 countries are the member WIPO (WIPO, n.d.b) and 177 countries are the members of Berne Union (WIPO, n.d.a). The GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) treaty also contains some provisions which affect copyright protection in signatory countries.

 

Bangladesh joined WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) in 1985 and become part of Berne treaty in the year 1999. Bangladesh Copyright Act 2000 describes international copyright issues in Chapter 12, Sections 68 to 70.

 

Exceptions

There are general exceptions as well specific exception clauses in the copyright laws to make balance between the rights owner’s interest and the public interest. Bangladesh Copyright Act 2000 has provisions for uses of protected works without seeking permission from author. Its section 72 under Chapter 13 listed certain acts which are not the infringement of copyright. This section includes “Fair Use” doctrine and many other exceptions. Under the “Fair Use” doctrine one can use the copyright protected materials for private study or use, research, review, criticisms, reporting current events in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodicals, in cinematograph films by broadcast or by photograph, etc. Law also allows users to use freely the sound recordings, cinematographic film, computer programs under certain circumstances. For the benefit of public, the copyright law keeps some provisions of free use of protected materials for educational, religious and charitable purposes. Sub-section 2, 6(b), 8 of Section 52, Sub-section 1 of Section 53, Sub-section 7, 8, 9, 12 and 15 of Section 72 provide specific directions on uses of protected materials for teaching/learning and research (but not industrial) purposes.    

 

Bangladesh Copyright Act on Educational Purposes

Copy Right Act, 2000; Act No. XXVIII of 2000 is An Act to amend and consolidate the laws relating to copyright by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

On Section 2 Definitions, (13) “library” means any library which can be used free of charge and a library attached to an educational institution, operated on a non-profit basis.

On the Chapter-9 of the Copy Right Act portrays Licenses. According to, Section 52Sub-section (8) the provisions of sub-sections (3) - (5), in so far as they are applicable to an application under sub-section (2), shall, with necessary modifications, apply to the grant of a license under subsection (7).

Explanation. - For the purposes of this section

(a) “purpose of research” does not include the  purpose of industrial research, or purpose of research by body corporate (except body corporate owned or controlled by the Government) or other societies or body of persons for commercial purposes;

(b) “purpose of teaching, research or scholarship” includes purposes of instructional activity at all levels in educational institutions, including schools, colleges, universities and tutorial institutions and purposes of all other types of organized educational activities.

On the Chapter-13 of the Copy Right Act portrays Infringement of Copyright. According to, Section 72. Certain acts not to be infringement of copyright.-(1) the following acts shall not constitute infringement of copyright, namely:

Sub section (7) the publication in a collection, mainly composed of non-copyright matter, bona fide intended for the use of educational institutions and so described in the title and in any advertisement issued by or on behalf of the publisher, of short passages from published literary or dramatic works, not themselves published for the use of educational institutions, in which copyright subsists:

Provided that not more than two such passages from works by the same author are published by the same publisher during any period of five years.

Explanation. - In the case of a work of joint authorship, references in this clause to passages from works shall include references to passages from works by any one or more of the authors of those passages or by any one or more of those authors in collaboration with any other person.

According to, Section 72. Sub section (9) the publication or the performance, in the course of the activities of an educational institution, of a literary, dramatic or musical work by the staff and students of the institution, or of a cinematograph film or a sound recording, if the audience is limited to such staff and students, the parents and guardians of the students and persons directly connected with the activities of the institution;

According to, Section 72. Sub section (l2) the performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work by an amateur club or society, if the performance is given to a non-paying audience or for the benefit of a religious, charitable or educational institution;

According to, Section 72. Sub section (15) the making of not more than three copies of a book (including a pamphlet, sheet of music, map, chart or plan) by or under the direction of the person in charge of a non-profit library available for use by the public free of charge or a library attached to an educational institution for the use of such library if such book is not available for sale in Bangladesh.

 

Fair Use Doctrine

“Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances, especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant.” (Crew, 2012).  Fair use is the exception of the rights of the copyright owners and it allows public limited use of the protected works. Fair use doctrine applies when the law does not provide any specific direction on use of the protected materials. It provides useful flexibility to law for adjusting according to circumstances. The concept “Fair Use” is a complex issue. It needs thoughtful evaluation of facts and circumstances. It is important to note that fair use may not always have legal status. Sometimes, fair use rights can be overridden by the contractual restrictions, such as, a library may have such an agreement with a party that may not allow to apply fair use rights. Duly, users should contact with the concern librarians to avoid uncertainty or to make concept clear on use of the specific materials.

 

However, fair use is the most important exception and greatest strength for education and research. U.S. Copyright Act provides a guideline in its Section 107 regarding fair use. It describes four factors which can help users evaluating and balancing fair use (Library of Congress. Copyright Office, 2020). The four factors are:

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

 

Concluding Notes

 

Copyright gives creators or copyright owners exclusive rights to copy or reproduce, distribute, perform and public display of their works, and create derivative works (J. Murrey Atkins Library, n.d). The law gives this monopoly to the creators intentionally. Violation of copyright constitutes infringement. The copyright laws also make balance between the interest of authors or creators and the public. The copyright acts describe many exceptions which helps users of protected works to avoid infringements. Use of protected works for educational purpose is one of such exceptions. Exceptions do not mean that one can do whatever they can do for teaching/learning. There are specific directions.

 

In addition to specific exceptions, the acts keep provision of fair use to support advancement of knowledge or for the betterment of the society. Fair use can rescue many from infringement and helps lawful uses. Thought fair use doctrine gives flexibility, the users should keep in mind that fair use does not give open check to use, it has certain limits too. Resources available in the public domain are risk free and any one can use those without the fear of infringement. It is important to note that infringement and plagiarism are not the same. Infringement is a legal issue and plagiarism is an ethical issue.     

 

 

References

Bangladesh Copyright Office. Copyright Act 2000 : Act no. XXVIII of 2000. Retrieved from http://www.copyrightoffice.gov.bd/sites/default/files/files/copyrightoff...(1)%20(2).pdf  (accessed on 26 June 2020)

Crew, K.D. (2012). Copyright law for librarians and educators : creative strategies and practical solution. 3rd edn. Chicago : ALA.

Hosen, M.F. (2017). An Overview of the Copyright Protection Laws in Bangladesh : A Critical Analysis of the Copyright Act, 2000 with Its Loopholes and Recommendations.  Beijing Law Review 08(02):191-211

J. Murrey Atkins Library (n.d.). Copyright. Retrieved from https://library.uncc.edu/research-write/copyright  (accessed on 9 June 2020)

Library of Congress. Copyright Office. (2020). Section 107: Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use.  In: Copyright law of the United States and related laws contained in Title 17 of the United States Code. Retrieved from https://www.copyright.gov/title17/title17.pdf  (accessed on 27 June 2020)

WIPO (n.d.a). WIPO bodies : assembly (Berne Union). Retrieved from https://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?country_id=ALL&search_w...   (accessed on 1 July 2020)

WIPO (n.d.b). Member states. Retrieved from https://www.wipo.int/members/en/  (accessed on 1 July 2020)

 

 

Some Useful Links on Copyright related to Education

Site

Address

Topic

Stanford University Libraries

https://fairuse.stanford.edu/

Copyright and Fair Use

Stanford University Libraries

https://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/introduction/getting-permission/

Getting Permission

Columbia University Library

https://copyright.columbia.edu/basics.html

Copyright

Columbia University Library

https://copyright.columbia.edu/basics/fair-use.html

Copyright and Fair Use

Columbia University Library

https://copyright.columbia.edu/basics/permissions-and-licensing.html

Getting Permission

J. Murrey Atkins Library

https://library.uncc.edu/research-write/copyright

Copyright

J. Murrey Atkins Library

https://atkinsapps.uncc.edu/index.php?q=copyright/teach

TEACH Act Toolkit

J. Murrey Atkins Library

https://library.uncc.edu/research-write/copyright/fair-use

Copyright and Fair Use

J. Murrey Atkins Library

https://library.uncc.edu/research-write/copyright/copyright-classroom

Classroom Exceptions

Center for Media & Social Impact

https://cmsimpact.org/program/fair-use/

Copyright and Fair Use

Cornel University

https://copyright.cornell.edu/

Copyright

Cornel University

https://copyright.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/Fair_Use_Checklist.pdf

Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright Law of the United States

https://www.copyright.gov/title17/

Copyright

Copyright Law of the United States, Title 17, Chapter 1

https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

Copyright

US Copyright Basics, Circular 1

https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

Copyright

Bangladesh Copyright Law

http://www.copyrightoffice.gov.bd/sites/default/files/files/copyrightoffice.portal.gov.bd/law/121de2e9_9bc9_4944_bfef_0a12af0864a5/Copyright,2000(1)%20(2).pdf

Copyright