Corel Corp  case , the court held that the copies of public domain photographs could not be copyrighted since they lacked originality and while such reproductions may have involved skill and labour, no protection could be granted to them, on account of lack of originality.
While the current legal requirements of originality viz. Coors Brewing Company  considered originality in terms of timing, subject and rendition, and held that the nature and extent of the copyright would be independent in the three aspects. The rquirement for originality was incorporated in the statute only in the Copyright Act, and over the course of time, the courts have evolved various metrics to apply the test.
Apart from novelty, the work is not required to be made with an intent to be original. What is considered is only that it is actually an independent creation in effect. In , the court in Alfred Bell Co. Catalda Arts  held that the question as to whether there was intent to be original was not to be considered. The Supreme Court of the United States has also clarified that it is not necessary for the work to be artistic to qualify as original.
Furthermore, in the landmark ruling, the court observed that it would be a dangerous undertaking for persons trained only to the law to constitute themselves final judges of the worth of pictorial illustrations, outside of the narrowest and most obvious limits. At the one extreme, some works of genius would be sure to miss appreciation. Their very novelty would make them repulsive until the public had learned the new language in which their author spoke. It may be more than doubted, for instance, whether the etchings of Goya or the paintings of Monet would have been sure of protection when seen for the first time.
At the other end, copyright would be denied to pictures which appealed to a public less educated than the judge. This observation was an embodiment of the principle of artistic or aesthetic neutrality which seeks to eliminate the inherent subjectivity involved in the judges deciding whether the work is artistic, and hence, the question as to whether it warrants protection.
The principle finds four broad justifications- i lack of expertise in the judges ii fear of elitism iii fear of paternalism also called parentalism iv lack of consensus on what constitutes art. However, scholars note that the principle of aesthetic neutrality is often violated as the adjudicators end up favouring creators of what they believe is deserving of copyright grant. In the United States, the work is not required to be non-commercial in nature for copyright protection and unlike the US trademark law, the work need to be necessarily lawful.
Therefore, works created for commercial purposes, such as advertisements can also be granted a copyright. Section 13 1 a of the Indian Copyright Act, mentions 'originality' as a requirement for copyright protection to literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Courts have interpreted this requirement of 'originality' in different ways. This judgment gave rise to two doctrines i.
This remains the accepted and current position of law in India as of now. However, prior to this, the Indian Courts used to follow the Sweat of the Brow approach.
This theory bases the grant of copyright protection on the effort and labour that an author puts into her work as opposed to the creativity involved. Locke's theory of labour as property has often been extended to give jurisprudential basis to this theory of copyright law.
In the case of V. Gopalakrishna Kone,  it was held that compilations of information would meet the threshold of 'originality' under the Indian Copyright Act since it involves some level of 'skill, labour and brain'. However, like in other jurisdictions, this theory was discarded by the Indian Courts also and the focus was shifted to the creativity involved in any work.
It concerned the copyrightability of Supreme Court judgments that were copy-edited and published by Eastern Book Company.
These judgments were published along with 'headnotes' that were written by the Company itself. While explicitly discarding the Sweat of the Brow theory, the Court held that simply copy editing would not meet the threshold of originality under copyright law since it would only demonstrate an " amount of skill, labour and capital put in the inputs of the copy-edited judgments and the original or innovative thoughts for the creativity would be completely excluded.
Thus, it introduced the requirement of 'creativity' under originality. With respect to the level of creativity involved, the court adopted the 'minimal degree of creativity' approach. Following this standard, the headnotes that did not copy from the judgment verbatim were held to be copyrightable. Finally, the Court also gave way to the 'Skill and Judgment Test' which is more or less a compromise between the sweat of the brow theory and the modicum of creativity test.
While relying on the CCH Canadian Case ,  the Court essentially held that a work would meet the originality standard as long as there is labour or effort involved but not only labour.
However, this approach mirrors the Sweat of the Brow theory more closely and is therefore a difficult theory to defend. Further, the Court held the division of a judgment into paragraphs and numbering them was enough to meet this standard of 'Skill and Judgment'.
Whether this is the correct interpretation of the test as given in the CCH Canadian Case  remains debatable. Scientific literature considered as primary must contain original research , and even review articles contain original analysis or interpretation.
An original idea is one not thought up by another person beforehand. Sometimes, two or more people can come up with the same idea independently. The evaluation of originality depends not only on the creative work itself, but also on the temporal context, the zeitgeist. Your customer service consultants were very supportive to me.
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