File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Copyright On Slogan And Phrases-Analysis

Object and Methodology
The present topic of "Copyright on Slogan and Phrases" is both explorative and analytical. To understand the topic more, certain research papers and articles have been gone through and then the conclusive idea has been drawn then after. Case laws mentioned in the assignment have been gone through and a briefing had been made accordingly.

Copyright is one of the Intellectual property rights which is granted to a person in works which is related to the field of literature, dramatic, or musical work. Copyright is an intellectual property right because it is a property that is created by a person using his intellectual skills. There are many other intellectual property rights but this assignment focuses on one of the IPRs i.e. Copyright.

Let us look into the dictionary definition of copyright:
Black's Law Dictionary: The right of literary property as recognised and sanctioned by positive law. An intangible, incorporeal right granted by statute to the author or originator of certain literary or artistic productions, whereby he is invested, for a specific period, with the sole and exclusive privilege of multiplying copies of the same and publishing and selling them.

Barron's Law Dictionary: The protection of the works of artists and authors giving them the exclusive right to publish their works or determine who may so publish.

Hence, it can be concluded that any work can be copyrighted if it falls in the category of literature, art, drama, or music but the first and foremost requirement is that it must be original work and the copied one.

The definition of copyright is given under Section 14 [1]of the Copyright Act, of 1957. The copyright is not necessarily to be registered. Copyright is known to be a negative right as it prevents other people to copy the work of the original author.

The main objective of copyright is to encourage the creation of original work by using one's intellect and the author of that work gets the exclusive right to enjoy the reward of that original work for a fixed period of time, Indian copyright remains with the original author during his lifetime plus 60 years of his death.

Since the copyright is not on the idea but on expression, it is based on two principles, Modicum Of Creativity And Sweat Of The Brow[2] and if any work proves the existence of these two things they can go for copyright.

Are Slogans part of Literature??
For the purpose of copyright, the term "literary works" is not confined to works of literature in the commonly understood sense, but is taken to include all works expressed in writing, regardless of whether they have literary merit or not. Thus, the definition is defined as works, other than audio-visual works, expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as books, periodicals, manuscripts, phone records, film, tapes, disk, or cards, in which they are embodied.

As per Merriam Webster slogan means a war cry especially of a Scottish clan, a word or phrase used to express a characteristic position or stand or a goal to be achieved, a brief attention-getting phrase used in advertising or promotion.

Slogans carry the philosophical burden of a brand. Slogan conveys the message of the business alongside the brand and at times it is the brand or more important than the brand.

Hence, as we see slogans are ideas that are expressed and any expressed work may be copyrighted but in real slogans and phrases can be copyrighted.

Case laws:
  1. PepsiCo Inc. v. Hindustan coca cola[3]
    PepsiCo, the appellant of the case was having a slogan of 'Yeh Dil Mange More' which was used by Hindustan Coca-Cola in one of its advertisements PepsiCo claimed that this slogan is their slogan that attracts the customer to buy PepsiCo. The argument was raised very strongly that the phrase "Dil Mange More" was registered as a Copyright work and should be protected.

    Held, the Delhi High Court held that the advertising slogans are not copyrightable as they are just a combination of certain words also the slogan 'Yeh Dil Mange More' is a general sentence and there is no originality of work and copying this would not be an infringement of copyright.
  2. Godfrey Phillips India Ltd. V. Dharampal Satyapal Ltd.[4]
    Delhi HC held that the slogan 'Shauq badi cheez hai' is a common phrase that is used in Hindi on day to day basis and phrases such as,'Swad badi cheez hai' are part of Hindi phrases and hence they cannot be copyrighted and will not fall under artistic work as they are just combination of mere words and does not require much creativity.

    From the above 2 cases, it can be concluded that slogans are not considered part of artistic work and also in copyright quantity matters over quality. Slogans if expressed with some explanation can be considered artistic work and will fall under section 2(O) of the copyright act 1957.

The application of copyrighting slogan and phrases have been filed many times. A slogan can be said an original work because it does require creative skills to develop some catchy lines to motivate people or attract their attention towards certain concepts. If we see, the creation of a slogan is having minimal creativity as per the above case laws judgement but a modicum of creativity tells only about creativity and does not specify the amount of creativity work required to be copyrighted.

Also, as per the Sweat of the Brow concept person needs to do an amount of work and developing a slogan for the specific brand and putting the whole concept in one line requires a lot of skill then one must have copyright over the slogan and phrases.As far as courts held that it is just a combination of certain words which are used in day-to-day life then by that logic each literary work is a combination of words forming sentences and that words are also part of day-to-day life. There are many slogans and phrases such as Inqilab zindabad, Desh banao desh bachao which hold different sentiments and a single sentence is such powerful to narrate a whole story.

Though copyright sees quantity but if slogans and phrases will be expressed with attached long paragraphs then the whole concept of the slogan will be defeated. One slogan can carry a whole concept and when that slogan is expressed should be copyrightable as the manner in which that slogan is expressed makes a difference.

Referred books:
  • Law of Copyright by Alka Chawla
  • Intellectual property law by B.L. Wadhera
  3. Pepsi Co., Inc. And Ors. vs Hindustan Coca Cola Ltd. And Anr. on 1 September 2003
    Equivalent citations: 2003 (27) PTC 305 Del, Indian Kanoon

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly