The Issue Of Copyrightability Of Characters

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COPYRIGHT LAW PROJECT
ON

THE ISSUE OF COPYRIGHTABILITY OF CHARACTERS

SUBMITTED BY:
POORVI SHAH
FOURTH YEAR
SECTION-A
ID- 211035
WBNUJS
THE ISSUE OF COPYRIGHTABILITY OF CHARACTERS

I. INTRODUCTION
Characters exist in human, animal, and even extra-terrestrial form, in literature, films and other forms of dramatic visualizations, and are shaped by their names, personalities, characteristics and manners. There are several such characters that the public is familiar with, and such popular figures form part of an industry worth trillions, thereby necessitating protection for them against duplication. Enter copyright law. This law, which finds its origin in the Statute of Anne, seeks to strike a balance between
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These include visual characters (as observed in movies, plays, etc) and animated characters (such as cartoons and comics). On the other hand, fictional characters are described using words as a medium, and coupled with the reader 's imagination, they form a picture in the mind. Since pictorial representations are more relatable and easier to commit to memory, graphic characters are easily accorded protection under Copyright Law. However, it should be kept in mind that although the Copyright Act defines 'artistic work ', such work is inclusive of drawings, paintings and sculptures, not characters . For instance, copyright law may enable an artist to protect a sketch of Mickey Mouse under the category of artistic work, however, the character of Mickey Mouse is derived by the reader from the various episodes or comics it is found in, and therefore doesn 't fall under the ambit of artistic work. Further, the book or movie the character appears in may be copyrighted as a whole (as a literary or cinematographic work), but that doesn 't prevent reproduction of the character.
However, it has been observed that the courts have exercised leniency in granting protection to graphic characters with visual representations that are easily identifiable. In the case of Hill v Whalen Martell , the court opined that the stage characters of Nutt and Giff were absolute copies of the plaintiff 's characters Mutt
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