Can Snapchat filters be protected under Copyright Law?

In recent times, social media has surfaced from being a platform of commuting thoughts to an enormous auditorium that provides an array of creativity for sharing articulation through unconceivable yet pleasurable ways. In our daily use, we don't humor in the underlying dynamics that make these social media possessors the innovative rich tycoons that they are. nevertheless, the noticeable role of intellectual property law cannot be neglected. Snapchat is a platform that has gained recognition for its innovative face filters and stories feature and made the sharing of photos and videos aesthetically appealing. Over the passage of time, Snapchat has frequently been accused of stealing the works of many Instagram makeup artists to formulate its filters. It’s uncertain whether these artists could conceivably sue for brand violation, given that similar forms of makeup warrant the element of ‘ indefinite obsession to a palpable medium ’ in order to achieve brand protection.( 2) On the other hand, it's yet to be determined if Snapchat filter can be supposed defended under imprints, indeed though analogous to makeup, they're also not fixed to the mortal face. This composition will bandy why Snapchat filters may not qualify for brand protection under the conditions of the subject matter intertwined with obsession and originality, in light of Pakistani law compared to the legal fabrics of the UK and the US. It'll also be shown why granting brand protection to these filter will lead to further problems and confusion as opposed to profitable gain

It has been suggested that Snapchat filters are ideas, so only the underlying source- law would be d- list system. defended. While it may be delicate to establish substantial copying of a source- law, it will, still, be easier to suggest that the sludge is in fact an cultural work, hence brand defended. The first question that needs to be considered is whether Snapchat filter fall within the dimension of defended subject matter under the law. Pakistan’s Brand constitution 1962 protects all original and cultural work as part of a unrestricted


These works haven't been defined collectively and if this description is applied rigorously, it can count a wide range of workshop that should else be considered cultural. Given the lack of Pakistani judgments on the subject of copyrightable workshop, case- law from the UK and US will be bandied which can act as conclusive precedent for domestic courts.


Snapchat filter don't fit neatly within the forenamed description of cultural workshop, still, an analogy may be drawn to the illustration of facial makeup. UK follows the unrestricted- list system like Pakistan, so for commodity to qualify as cultural, it must fall within one of the orders specified as being defended. The English Court of Appeal has held that makeup cannot qualify as a oil because the former can be removed and isn't permanently fixed to a palpable medium.( 6) This case voices the significance of ‘ obsession ’ when determining the subject matter demand. also, it can be argued that a Snapchat sludge cannot be constituted as a oil as it acts like makeup for the mortal face, which also becomes part of the snap as an more effect. The photos that number these filter, still, could be defended as separate workshop, but that isn't contentious since Snapchat gives power of similar content to its druggies.

Snapchat filter, in substance, are like digital floating designs which cannot be supposed to have been “ incorporated ” until they've been applied to the mortal face. Unlike Pakistan, the US follows the open list system, but adheres rigorously to the demand of obsession. Under US law, obsession mustn't only be “ sufficiently endless or stable ” but also remain for “ a period of further than temporary duration. ”( 9) This means that a work mustn't only be attached to a palpable medium, but should also remain affected constantly for it to be considered fixed. This basically depicts two conditions to constitute commodity as fixed, still, the US courts have developed two different approaches in determining if commodity is ‘ fixed ’ under the law.

 The Second Circuit’s Cartoon Network test of the “ duration demand ” requires a work to be embodied in a palpable medium first and also the personification to live “ for a period of further than temporary duration On the other hand, the Ninth Circuit didn't relate to this breakdown of the duration demand in its judgment of 1993 and only considered whether the data in a computer’s Random Access Memory( RAM) had been “ sufficiently endless or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or else communicated for a period of further than temporary duration.
It's material to note that the entire communication over Snapchat is designed to be temporary in nature and subject to omission or exposure after a many seconds. The Snapchat sludge, in particular, is created in such a way that it lacks any stable actuality on a palpable medium to which it could be attached. It's applied to the mortal face for the purposes of photos and videos, still, the mortal face may not constitute a palpable medium, given that these filter don't permanently come part of the face and remain as an more effect in the content that's created. It must be also be refocused out that the Second Circuit’s judgment is the more recent in time and, if rigorously followed, will help Snapchat filter from ever having any brand protection given their “ deciduous nature ”.( 13) thus, a Snapchat sludge can be considered a temporary improvement in a snap or videotape that's made or saved and this content in turn belongs to the stoner. maybe this is why Snapchat gives power of similar content, produced using the app, to its druggies.

Indeed in one of the foremost cases of obsession, the court held that the coin- operated videotape game in question had brand protection for three separate rudiments, including the computer game itself, as well as the audio-visual goods shown during the game’s “ attract ” and “ play ” modes.( 14) Accordingly, the court decided that the “ videotape game was permanently fixed on the computer chip and the audio-visual sequences in the game remained harmonious throughout, anyhow of the players ’ controls and were hence defended. 
”( 15) In this sense, the source- law of Snapchat filter can be supposed to be defended, but contention remains as to the thickness of these filter ’ display. The forenamed case handed a broad understanding of constituting obsession “ by any system now known or developed latterly ” when it said that similar audio-visual goods were defended because of their repetitiveness and persistency during the game.( 16) With this understanding, it can be argued that Snapchat filter don't change in their appearance and therefore remain patient. still, the problem with this argument is twofold


First, it seems doubtful that this will apply to Snapchat filter because, as indicated before, they don't come an expression until they're put on the mortal face( which belongs to the druggies), so the thickness in their design will be less applicable;

 Secondly, without a medium to be permanently fixed on, these filter are temporary and are bare designs, which fall within the dimension of patent protection and not imprints.

 Likewise, in the notorious case of Carellv. Shubert Organization, the court held that the makeup on characters of the Broadway musical comedy pussycats was defended because( a) it was an original work of art and( b) it was fixed to the bodies of the characters. The work of makeup had been similar that it was supposed to be permanently part of the characters ’ bodies within the compass of the play and integral for their places as pussycats. maybe this denotes a analogous dynamic to the case of Lucas film v. Aismworth, in which the judges set themselves within the Star Wars macrocosm to determine the functionality aspect of the Storm troopers ’ masks to qualify as a form.( 18) This case further underlines the maximum need to fit commodity within the precise perimeters of workshop that are listed as defended subject matter in order to grant a brand. still, the courts define the compass of these listed workshop by taking into account other considerations as well, similar as profitable value and related impulses. Following the same point, it was noted that there was pure profitable value for the makeup design in pussycats and “ had the actors not slipped the makeup designs that converted each of them into mortal pussycats, the show would not have grossed a record$ 380 million in deals. ”( 19) Contrary to this, Snapchat filter aren't applied by the druggies for profitable value, they're simply used to enhance appearance for particular use or entertainment. Accordingly, considering the forenamed discussion regarding Carrel that, “ if temporary duration’s functional standard dictates that the reduplication of a “ pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work ” must hold profitable value to pass the obsession demand, ”( 20) also Snapchat filter don't qualify for brand protection.

Suffice to say, the exponential growth in innovation of technology and social media cannot be neglected, but at the same time such growth poses new difficulties for laws concerning intellectual property. As it has been shown, Snapchat filters are doubtful to constitute cultural workshop without being fixed to the faces of its druggies. The nature of Snapchat pollutants is similar that it's too remote to fit into any of the listed copyrightable subject matter and the problem extends further with the incapability to meet the obsession element. Despite the US having an open- list system and a utilitarian approach, it also remains defined to the scrupulous demand of obsession. maybe the main concern is that the designs, collectively, aren't defended under imprints like fashion cuts, and if the designs of Snapchat pollutants were supposed copyrightable, they would beget sheer confusion and gratuitous imbrications with patent law. It can also be said that the law doesn't effectively feed to the new attributes of Snapchat features. maybe making the law more comprehensive shall give an applicable understanding of whether new forms of work can be defended. though, this entails a struggle and detailed precedents, especially if a country like Pakistan follows a inaccessible- list system