An Empirical Study on Originality–The Core Requirement for Copyrighted Works
1. 原創性為「原始性」與「微量之創作性」； 2. 在創作完成主義下，原創性之與否為著作之核心要件，一旦著作具備原創性者應受到著作權法之保護； 3. 著作類型之多元化，對於不同之著作應建立不同之標準，所重之價值判斷亦不同，例如在美術、攝影著作中較重視「作者精神價值」之投射；而語文著作則相較於其他著作須具有更高程度之「創作性」；資料庫等編輯著作之「創作性」相較於語文等著作為低，衝擊以「原創性」為核心之著作保護價值，但作者之付出仍有保護之必要。
According to Article 10 of Taiwan’s Copyright Act, the copyright of a work is automatically protected upon the completion of that work, but the Copyright Act fails to clearly define the requirements for works protected under it. Among others, it is imperative that the implications of originality, which is the core of copyright discussions, be factored into case studies by way of theoretical discourses and practices. This study is mostly intended to clarify the significance and implications of originality through discussions from the following perspectives: 1. A comparative study of laws Taiwan’s Copyright Act is patterned after copyright regulations in the common law and civil law systems. In fact, the copyright regulations of both China and Taiwan are patterned after major copyright regulations of the United States and Europe, hence the similarity background of China’s Copyright Law and the Taiwanese Copyright Act. Since a large part of the Taiwanese copyright terminology, used either in theoretical discourses or in judicial practices, can be traced back to Japan’s Copyright Law, this study will also address the Japanese copyright regulations. This present study includes a comparative study of laws to differentiate between two legislative models, namely the property-value-oriented common law system and the personality-value-oriented civil law system. It also draws lessons from the flaws of the Copyright Laws of Japan and China, both of which are examples of reception of foreign laws, just like Taiwan’s Copyright Act. 2. Re-clarifying the definition of originality If it is determined that originality is the core element and pre-requisite of works protected under copyright laws, this study will raise two questions, as stated below, in order to clarify how originality is defined for legally substantiated works: (1) Do illegally produced yet original materials qualify as works protected under copyright regulations? A. Discussions about whether derivative works that are not legally authorized but original should be protected by the Copyright Act; B. Discussions about whether pornographic works that are against the decent practices generally accepted in Taiwan but original are protected by the Copyright Act. (2) Is the absence of originality a disqualifier for works protected under copyright regulations? A. Discussions about the ways to protect works with low degrees of originality (e.g., databases); B. Discussions about whether Taiwan should introduce the “neighboring rights” of creative works, which are already included in the civil law system. 3. An empirical study of the Taiwanese judicial system In this part of discussions, court rulings were collected to gain an insight into the way Taiwanese courts make judgments on originality-related controversies for each type of works (e.g., whether the rulings are concentrated in specific categories of works, and what standard applies to each category). Based on the court rulings, efforts were made to identify exactly how the Taiwanese courts make originality-relevant judgments for each type of works, and what the standard of originality is. Finally, the following conclusions were drawn from the comparative study of laws and research mentioned above: (1) Originality is a combination of originality and modicum of creativity. (2) Given the principle of creative protection (i.e., the copyright of a work is automatically protected upon the completion of that work), whether a work is original or not is the core element of copyright protection, and a work with any degree of originality shall be protected by the Copyright Act. (3) The diversified types of works call for different standards because the priorities in value judgments vary among work types. For instance, the quality of projecting the author’s spiritual values is considered important for fine arts and photographic works, while literary works are required to display a higher degree of creativity than the other types of works. Because compilations (i.e., collective works) such as databases have a lower degree of creativity than literary or any other type of works, they made an impact on the originality-centric value of copyright protection. However, the authors of compilations still need copyright protection for their efforts/contribution. Unlike Germany, Japan and China that adopt the civil law system and subsequently a neighboring rights scheme, Taiwan protects creative works by means of copyright. Having been revised, corrected and applied over the past century, the Taiwanese Copyright Act developed a spirit that combines the moral rights protection emphasized in the civil law system with some distinctive qualities of the U.S. laws, such as the originality theory based on property values, and the protection of an author’s economic rights. Generally speaking, Taiwan has gradually created a set of copyright regulations that is one of a kind.
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