Case Analysis Question-Copyright Infringement
Case Analysis Question-Copyright Infringement
Copyright is an intellectual property right which protects the original works of the individual. Infringement refers to an act of breaking the terms of a law or agreement also called violation. Copyright infringement, therefore, refers to a violation of the laws of the intellectual property rights. It can be termed as using another person’s work or writing without their permission. It occurs in various ways which do not necessarily mean copying in writing.
In the case discussed in this chapter about copyright infringement, the parties involved are Winstead who is the plaintiff and Jackson who is the defendant. The creative works involved is an album or film made by Jackson and a book written by Winstead. Winstead believes that Jackson infringed his copyright for the book by using its content in his film. Jackson does not agree because he also thinks that his film was original and had no violation of Winstead’s copyright.
To determine whether the creative work infringes on the copyright of other works, there should be a test to check the allegations. Comparison between the two works that is the original work which is claimed to have been infringed and the work that is claimed to be the result of the infringement. In the case of Winstead vs. Jackson, the test can be done by comparing the film of Jackson and the book of Winstead by the use of the “lay-observer”. The lay observer will help the court determine whether there is copying in case he or she believes that the coping done is of the protected aspects within the copyright. The things to be checked include the expression, idea, and theme of the author which he wanted to convey to the audience or the readers. The court has to determine whether the work of Jackson is similar to Winstead’s work basing on the fact that it appropriates the unique expression of Winstead’s work or just because it has elements that are expected to happen when two works express the same idea and explore the same theme. In case the latter has the expected elements due to exploring the same theme and having the same idea, then it is not copyright infringement. If it appropriates the unique expression, idea, and theme of the original work just as the author expressed it and the lay observer can notice the similarity then it is infringed copyright.
To determine whether the claim was supported by the case, the court had to apply the rule of law with regard to copyright infringement. As stated above, the court had to compare the two sets of works to determine any cases of similarity. The comparison was to determine whether the film and the album of Jackson infringed the copyright of Winstead’s book as claimed. They used a lay observer as a basis of the comparison. It was noticed that both works had the same theme where they both a protagonist who has been offended in the society and turned into violence as a way of survival and seeking justice. The theme cannot be protected since it is what happens in the society all times and not unique thing to happen. The setting is also similar where they both used an urban setting since it is only in urban centers where the streets can be found. This similarity cannot make the court conclude that there is copyright infringement since they are not protected but common in the society.
However, there are also differences between the two works. Among the differences are the characters. Jackson uses a young man who turns to crime as a way of getting a revenge to the death of his mother while Winstead uses a young man who turned to violence as a way of freedom from abuse of the step-mother. The plots are different wherein Jackson’s film, the young man was good and lived with his mother. However, he turns to violence to seek revenge for the death of his mother and gets rich through leading a gang. Later he is betrayed by his girlfriend and is killed. Winstead’s work has a different plot where the young man comes from a Godly family but faces abuses from the stepmother which make him run to the street. On the streets, he commits violence but later he changes to a better person after learning about the death of his father. The two works also differ according to the sequence of events wherein Jackson’s film, the young man starts as a violent man after the death of his mother and dies later due to betrayal from the girl but the film ends with his younger brother vowing to revenge the death of his brother. Winstead’s work starts with the young man running to streets for freedom from abuses of a stepmother, commits violence and sent to jail. Later he is released but learns the death of his father which marks his turning point. The story ends when this young man is redeemed. In the end, Jackson’s work is about moral apathy, unlike Winstead whose work expresses hope.
In conclusion, it is evident that Jackson was not liable for the copyright infringement. Basing on the differences that were evident in both works like the overall idea portrayed by both works state the differences. It is true that Winstead wanted to communicate about hope where the character turns to violence but later is redeemed, while Jackson’s film was communicating about moral apathy where the young man seeks justice to his mother’s death but end up killing others and being violent. It is clear that they have the same themes and setting but they are not things to consider unique. Since they are things that happen in society, they are not unique in any way thus they had not been protected, making it clear that Jackson did not commit the copyright infringement as claimed by Winstead.