Copyright Laws In India

“Arjun wrote a play and wanted to get it published but before that he narrated it to Priya. Priya without Arjun’s consent directed a play on the same story and showcased it. On knowing this, Arjun went to Mr. Lexi and he told Arjun that Priya has committed copyright infringement of the original work.”

What is a copyright?

Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of any literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. It also includes rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work. Eg. Novels, Cartoon images of scooby doo, garfield etc.

Why is Copyright registration necessary?

Copyright registration of creative work protects your creation from being stolen or duplicated, and gives you a confirmed legal right over your creation. Copyright Registration gives your work a Legal Status, thereby making it an Intellectual Property, giving you exclusive Legal Right over your creation.

What is an exclusive legal right in relation to copyright registration?

Legal Right is a full-proof stamp of ownership of your creative work, which none can take away from you. That is primarily, the biggest reason why one should register their copyright immediately on completion of one’s creative work.

What can be protected through copyright?

Works commonly protected by copyright throughout the world include:

  •       literary works such as novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspaper articles;
  •       computer programs, databases;
  •       films, musical compositions, and choreography;
  •       artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculpture;
  •       architecture; and
  •       advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.

Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such. Copyright may or may not be available for a number of objects such as titles, slogans, or logos, depending on whether they contain sufficient authorship.

What are the rights protected by copyright?

There are two types of rights under copyright laws:

  •  Economic Rights, which allow the rights owner to derive financial reward from the use of his works by others; and
  •  Moral Rights, which protect the non-economic interests of the author. Examples- the right to claim authorship of a work and the right to oppose changes to a work that could harm the creator’s reputation.
What all falls under Economic Rights?

The economic rights owner of a work prohibits or authorizes:

  •       its reproduction in various forms, such as printed publication or sound recording;
  •       its public performance, such as in a play or musical work;
  •       its recording, for example, in the form of compact discs or DVDs;
  •       its broadcasting, by radio, cable or satellite;
  •       its translation into other languages; and
  •       its adaptation, such as a novel into a film screenplay.
What is the object of Copyright Registration?

The object of copyright law is to encourage authors, composers and artists to create original works by rewarding them with the exclusive right for a limited period to reproduce the works for the benefit of the public.

What happens when the copyright expires?

On the expiry of the term copyright the works belong to the public domain and anyone may reproduce them without permission.

Copyright is a negative or positive right?

The exclusive right given to the author through copyright is a negative right that is to say, a right to prevent others from copying or reproducing the work. A negative right is a right that abstains someone from doing something.

Is it necessary to register a work to claim copyright?

No. Acquisition of copyright is automatic and it does not require any formality. Copyright comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring copyright. However, certificate of registration of copyright and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to dispute relating to ownership of copyright.

What is the procedure of registration of a work under copyright Act, 1957?

The procedure for registration is as follows:

  1. Application for registration on the Government portal  
  2. Separate applications should be made for registration of each work.
  3. Each application should be accompanied by the requisite fee 
  4. The applications should be signed by the applicant. The Power of Attorney signed by the party and accepted by the advocate should also be enclosed, if applicable.
  5. The fee shall be paid either in the form of Demand Draft or Indian Postal Order in favor of “Registrar of Copyrights Payable at New Delhi” or through e-payment.
  6. Each and every column of the Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars should be replied specifically.
Whether unpublished works are registered?

Yes. Both published and unpublished works can be registered. Copyright in works published before 21st January, 1958, i.e., before the Copyright Act, 1957 came in force, can also be registered, provided the works still enjoy copyright.

What is the procedure of sending work for registration?

Two copies of published or unpublished work may be sent along with the application. If the work is unpublished then, a copy of the manuscript should be sent along with an application for Stamp affixing.

One copy, duly stamped, is returned while the other is kept in the copyright office for record purposes. Author can also choose to send only the excerpts of unpublished work instead of the whole manuscript.

What will be the procedure of Copyright when an unpublished work becomes published?

When a work has been registered as unpublished and subsequently it is published, the applicant may apply for changes in particulars entered in the Register of Copyright with prescribed fee. The process of registration and fee for registration of copyright is the same.

In A Nutshell

  • Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of any literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works and producers of         cinematograph films and sound recordings.
  • Copyright protects your work from being stolen or misused without your permission.
  • Copyright extends to both published and unpublished works and is provided under Copyright Act, 1957 in India.
  • Copyright is given for a specific period and when it expires the work comes in public domain.
  • Copyright laws cover economic rights and moral rights.
  • The procedure for filing application and registration of a copyright in India is provided under the Copyright Act, 1957.

Please note: This information has been made available to you for your benefit on an ‘as is’ basis, and is only for your information. It does not constitute legal advice and cannot substitute professional legal advice. Our disclaimer policy can be viewed here ( Disclaimer)

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