Copyrights and Contracts

Copyright is a protection of originality. It protects your works such as original academic, dramatic, musical works and subject matter such as audio recordings, films. It is part of intellectual property law, which is law supervising rights in information(McJohn, 2006). Copyright only applies to native creative expression. It doesn’t protect ideas, styles, and concepts. Copyrights are often concerned about three types of contracts: Assignment, Licence and work made for hire agreement(Stim, 2010). An assignment is a contract in which a copyright is transferred, a license is a contract in which the owner of the copyright gives permission to use the property for a limited time or limited way. A contract usually consists of originality of the author, duration, mutuality of obligation, work permit, responsibilities, acceptance, intention to create legal relations, consideration, and consent. One thing that I would like to elaborate on is copyright infringement.

Copyright infringement occurs when the copyright owners privileges are breached. Even using a part of the work without permission leads to copyright infringement if that part is important. There was a case of Richard Prince and Patrick Cariou, Prince is a well-known appropriation artist and for an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, Prince appropriated 41 images from a photography book by French photographer Cariou, claiming fair use that he created new meaning out of the photographs, but the judge ruled in favour of Cariou as he claimed it was a copyright infringement(Jada, 2013). Another famous case of copyright infringement was that of Apple and Microsoft. The Microsoft software Windows 2.0 turned out to be identical to the Macintosh software. Apple filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in 1988, Apple’s case included 189 contested visual displays that violated its copyright(Schutte, Terrelonge, Real, & Adams, 2014).

This led to a six-year-long battle. In 1989, Court ruled that 179 out of 189 were from the existing licenses and the other 10 were not violations due to merger doctrine. In 1993, the lawsuit was decided in Microsoft’s favor. Another example of copyright violation is about the Indian music composer Ram Sampath who dragged Roshan(Film producer in Bollywood) brothers to court for plagiarizing his music score in their film Krazzy4(Deshpande, 2016).

Roshans had to pay Rs 2 crore as a settlement to him. There are some exceptions to copyright infringement and referred as Fair dealing. They include fair dealing for research, study, review, criticism, legal advice, parody, and satire. “Vampire Sucks” is a parody that pokes fun at “Twilight” which was a movie adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s novel “Twilight”, Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travel” is a parody of travel narratives as well as a satire on contemporary England(admin, 2013).

So copyrights are important as it benefits the author of the work. The significant advantage of copyrights is that it is automatic so no investment is required to obtain it, another advantage is the duration: in most cases 70 years from the author’s death(Peters, 2011). Copyrights ensure that people won’t copy things from others works. Contracts are vital because it follows a legal procedure and ensures that both parties of an agreement are fairly compensated for their work, goods or money.



admin. (2013, July 7). Parody – examples and definition of parody. Retrieved November 4, 2016, from Uncategorized,

Deshpande, S. (2016, January 16). Roshans pay Rs 2 crore for pinching music. Retrieved November 4, 2016, from

Jada. (2013, April 19). 5 famous copyright infringement cases (what you can learn). Retrieved November 4, 2016, from Tips,

McJohn, S. M. (2006). Copyright: Examples and explanations. United States: Panel Publishers.

Peters, P. (2011, September 22). The importance of copyright for businesses – intellectual property – Netherlands. Retrieved November 4, 2016, from

Schutte, S., Terrelonge, Z., Real, & Adams, B. (2014, August 11). 6 famous copyright cases. Retrieved November 4, 2016, from Law,

Stim, R. (2010). Contracts: The essential business desk reference. Berkeley, CA: Nolo.


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