The Intellectual Property Court rendered the Xing-Zhi-Shang-Yi-67 Criminal Decision on July 26, 2018 (the “Decision”)in which it held that whether an artistic work created by computer software is protected under the Copyright Law depends on whether the work’s spirit sufficiently conveys the personality of the author, and there is no direct relationship with whether source materials provided by the computer software are used for its creation.
In a finding for copyright infringement through unauthorized public transmission, the trial court sentenced Defendant A to 55 days detention, which may be commuted into a fine of NT$1,000 for each day in detention, while Defendant B, who was the representative of a corporate person, was fined for , NT$120,000. Defendants appealed on the ground that since the work at issue was designed by using templates available on the Canva website and featured common designs and phrases with a very low level of spirit and no originality, hence it should not have been considered a work within the meaning of the Copyright Law.
According to this Decision, although the work at issue was created through the Canva software, “creations” protected under the Copyright Law are not limited to “purely manual creations.” In today’s high-tech world, many works are created by using advanced hardware or computer software; although the Complainant used the Canva software to create the subject TCA color block design art work, and the Canva software provides a variety of templates and elements, due to the differences in the spiritual effect of each person, creations using such materials will naturally be different As a result, whether a work has the necessary originality to be protected under the Copyright Law still depends on whether the spirit of the work could sufficiently convey the personality of the creator, and whether the work was created using templates and elements provided by computer software has no direct relationship with the issue. Hence, the Defendants’ argument that the work at issue lacked originality since it was designed via the pre-made templates on the Canva website was not persuasive, and the appeal was rejected.