A private website that publishes the Constitution of Pakistan carries the following copyright disclaimer:

We reserve all rights to the HTML formatting and presentation of the entire Constitution and all accompanying documents as presented here. No reproduction of the HTML formatting is permitted without our express written permission.


My question is, does HTML formatting meet the the threshold of originality? Or is this text likely just a deterrent?


Unless there is something special in Pakistani case law on this topic, it would pass the originality requirement. In my opinion, it is actually very well laid out, and it is clearly not just slapping a few tags on plain text. This article does not indicate any particularly high standards for originality in Pakistan.

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After taking a look at the website http://pakistani.org/, there is nothing special about the website. They use basic HTML without any special formatting so there's no way to verify originality.

This work is not sufficiently original to warrant copyright protection.

"The threshold of originality is a concept in copyright law that is used to assess whether a particular work can be copyrighted. It is used to distinguish works that are sufficiently original to warrant copyright protection from those that are not. In this context, "originality" refers to "coming from someone as the originator/author" (insofar as it somehow reflects the author's personality), rather than "never having occurred or existed before" (which would amount to the protection of something new, as in patent protection)."

Source Threshold of originality

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  • Hi MichaelHabib, if you are trying to say that basic HTML cannot be an original work of authorship, please provide citations, for example, to case law or statutes to support that position. Otherwise, an opinion without anything else is not appropriate for this site. – Andrew Jun 4 at 15:39
  • @Andrew my comment was no mere opinion, it was an accurate assessment of the website as it is now. Simply put : This work is not sufficiently original to warrant copyright protection. – MichaelHabib Jun 4 at 15:52
  • so far, you have only posted a rule and an opinion, you have not posted any type of analysis. For example, do you have any citations to how courts have handled similar issues in the past, has website code been brought to court before and been found non-copyrightable, etc. You have only posted an opinion that it is "not sufficiently original to warrant copyright protection" without saying why that is.An "assessment" that is just a statement is "mere opinion" if it cannot be supported. – Andrew Jun 4 at 15:58
  • For example, originality is defined as "coming from someone as the originator/author". So are you saying no one coded[authored] the HTML? Note, that the threshold of originality does not require that the originator or author is known, that is, I do not have to know who the author of a work is to make a determination that the threshold of originality is met. There is no "sweat of the brow" requirement for originality, meaning, there is no requirement that diligence or work is required for meeting the originality requirement. – Andrew Jun 4 at 16:06
  • Andrew, in the worst case this would go to a court, and the court would decide if the formatting is enough to be called “originality”. Michael basically says he is an expert in HTML formatting, looked at the formatting, and this HTML formatting is not original. Other HTML formatting may be original and have copyright protection. – gnasher729 Jun 5 at 20:00

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