KKO 1988:82 The work of Krystyna Rudzinski was granted a copyright protection.

An advertisement that offended Krystyna Rudzinki's work.

The Copyright Act protects creative work and its authors.  A copyright is born when a work is created. A copyright creates "the exclusive right to control the work by reproducing it and making it available to the public." The work is the independent and original result of its author's intellectual creative work. Works may be paintings, drawings, films, musical compositions, cartoons, choreographies, written and oral presentations, maps, photographs, illustrations, products of industrial art, explanatory drawings and computer applications.  This is an exemplar list. A work receiving copyright may take any kind of form. The receipt of copyright requires only that the result of the intellectual creative work is independent and original, in which case the work meets the prerequisites of originality. In practice, the threshold for this is rather low. Almost all fine art, therefore, enjoys copyright protection. Illustrations and cartoons, too, must be independent and original, in order to meet the prerequisites of originality and enjoy copyright protection.

Works of fine art may be, for example, paintings, sculptures, drawings, textile or graphic arts, installations, works of environmental art, engravings, xylo and lithography, works realised by collage and mixed media, works of environmental and ephemeral art, sketches and other similar works. Illustrations and cartoon art can also be regarded as works of fine art. Video and multimedia works are considered audiovisual works and are discussed in the section on film. Determining whether a work is fine art, audiovisual, literary or belonging in some other category, must be resolved on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a fine artist illustrates a book on plants, the illustrations may be protected as explanatory drawings, in which case the prerequisites of originality are assessed by slightly different criteria, as explanatory drawings are protected as literary works and not works of fine art. Also the independent and original work of an amateur may receive protection.

Copyright does not protect subjects, ideas, principles or technical choices, such as material experiments or colour choices, but the independent and original form in which the work has been expressed. As copyright does not protect ideas or subjects, two people may paint a painting or draw a comic on the same subject, using the same materials, without violating copyright. Copyright protection is also granted to drafts, provided that they meet the originality prerequisites. Copyright is born simultaneously with the creation of a work. Copyright protection may also be granted, for example, to storyboards and synopses, provided that the prerequisites of independence and originality are met. It is insignificant, for the purposes of copyright, on which storage format the work appears. Works of fine art that appear on open computer networks, such as the Internet, are equally protected by copyright as those painted on canvas or carved from wood.

The originality requirement has traditionally been regarded low for works of fine art. For a work of fine art to enjoy copyright protection, it must meet the prerequisites of originality, that is, the work must be the result of the author's independent and original intellectual creative work. High artistic quality is not a requirement. The Copyright Council, in its opinion, considered as works of fine art receiving copyright protection, among others, a drawing of a stylised little girl (Opinion 1991:4).

The prerequisites of independence and originality are generally considered as met, if it can be assumed that no-one else undertaking this work would have ended up with a similar work. Copyright protects only the external appearance of a work, that is, the manner in which the author has expressed themselves. When a work of fine art work receives copyright protection, the author has, in accordance with the Copyright Act, the exclusive right to control the work and its use.

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