To know more:

1 022- 22696622 (5 lines)

or you may email to: support@rahlegal.in . Thank you!

Office Hours:

Mon-Fri 10:00am - 6:00pm
Sat 10:00am - 1:00pm (except 2nd Sat)

Meaning of Copyright

“Copyright” means the exclusive right, by virtue of and subject to the provisions of, the Copyright Act, 1957, given to the creator to do or authorize others to do certain acts in relation to original literary, dramatic or musical works, artistic works, cinematograph films and sound recordings. Copyright is known as author’s rights. It grants exclusive rights to the creators of original literary, scientific and artistic works. Copyright only prevents copying, not independent derivation. It prevents unauthorized reproduction, public performance, recording, broadcasting, translation, or adaptation, and allows the collection of royalties for authorized use. Computer programs are protected by copyrights, as software source and code have been defined as a literary expression.

The style of English decorative arts had reached its apex during the reign (1702-14) of Queen Anne. The Statute of Anne, which was formulated into a law on 10th April 1710, stands as the first legislation to protect Copyright of books and other writings. The first Copyright Act in the world introduced two new concepts – an author being the owner of copyright and the principle of a fixed term of protection for published works.

Copyright  

… is creation of a specific statute under the present law. There is no such thing as common law copyright.

… is a form of intellectual property since the product over which the right is granted, for instance, artistic work, is the result of utilization and investment of intellect.

… is a monopoly right restraining the others from exercising that right which has been conferred on the owner of copyright under the provisions of the Act.

… is a negative right meaning thereby that it is prohibitory in nature. It is a right to prevent others from copying or reproducing the work.

… is not a single right. It consists of a bundle of different rights in the same work which can exist and be exploited independently.

… consists not merely of the right to reproduction. It also consists of the right to works derived from the original works. For instance, right of public performance, the recording right and the broadcasting right etc.

Copyright is a form of property which, like physical property, can be bought or sold, inherited or otherwise transferred, wholly or in part. So, some or all of the economic rights may subsequently belong to someone other than the first owner. In contrast, the moral rights accorded to authors of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and film directors remain with the author or director or pass to his or her heirs on death.

Nature of a Copyright

  1. In the case of a literary, dramatic or musical work, not being a computer program; to do and authorize the doing of any of the following acts, namely:
  • to reproduce the work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means;
  • to publish the work;
  • to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation.
  • to perform the work in public or communicate it to the public;
  • to produce, reproduce, perform or publish any translation of the work, to make any adaptation of the work;
  • To make any cinematography film or sound recording in respect of the work
  1. in the case of an artistic work, to do or authorize the doing of any of the following acts, namely:
  • to reproduce the work in any material form including depiction in three dimensions of a two dimensional work or in two dimensions of a three dimensional work;
  • to publish the work;
  • to communicate the work to the public.
  • to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in
  • to include the work in any cinematograph film;
  • to make any adaptation of the work.
  1. in the case of a cinematograph film, to do or authorize the doing of any of the following acts, namely:
  • to make a copy of the film including a photograph of any image forming part
  • thereof;
  • to cause the film, in so far as it consists of visual images, to be seen in public and, in so far as it consists of sounds, to be heard in public;
  • to make any record embodying the recording in any part of the sound track associated with the film by utilising such sound track;
  • to communicate the film to the public by radio-diffusion;
  • to sell or give on hire or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the film,
  • regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier
  1. in the case of Sound recording, to do or authorize the doing of any of the following acts by utilising the record, namely:
  • to make any other sound recording embodying it;
  • to communicate the sound recording to the public;
  • to communicate the recording embodied in the record by radio-diffusion;
  • to sell or give on hire or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the, sound
  • recording, regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire
  • on earlier occasions.
  1. in the case of Computer program:

to sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire any copy of the computer program,

regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier

occasions.

History & Scope of Copyright Act in India 

Modern copyright law developed in India through different phases across 150 years. The Copyright Act in India was enacted in the year 1957 which took effect in January 1958. It has been amended five times since then, once each in the years 1982, 1984, 1992, 1994 and 1999. The amendment of 1994 was considered the most substantial of the five amendments. Though the amendment in the year 1994 was quite comprehensive, only minor changes were introduced through the amendment made in the year 1999 to bring the Act in conformity with the TRIPS Agreement. Prior to the Act of 1957, the Law of Copyrights in the country was governed by the Copyright Act of 1914. This Act was essentially the extension of the British Copyright Act, 1911 to India. Even the Copyright Act, 1957 adopted extensively from the new Copyright Act of the United Kingdom of 1956.

India’s copyright law, laid down in the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 as amended by Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1999, fully reflects the Berne Convention on Copyrights, to which India is a party. Additionally, India is party to the Geneva Convention for the Protection of rights of Producers of Phonograms and to the Universal Copyright Convention. India is also an active member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Geneva and UNESCO. Though India is not a member of the Rome Convention of 1961, the Copyright Act, 1957 is fully compliant with the Rome Convention provisions.

The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1994 has incorporated a new section in place of the old section 37 of the Act which provides that every broadcasting organization will have a special right termed the “Broadcasting Reproduction Right” in respect of its broadcasts.

Before the amendment of the Copy right Act in 1994, there was no protection of the rights of performer, the amendment introduced the recognition of the rights of the performer under section 38 of the Act. Chapter VIII of The Amended Act of 1999 also applies to foreign broadcasting organization and performances held either in India or to which the order relates.

The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1994, extended the scope of operation as also it changed the nomenclature from Performing Rights Societies to Copyright Societies. The Copyright Societies are authorized to issue and grant licences of the copyright in the work for reproduction, performance or communication to public.

The Copyright Act requires for establishment of an office to be called the Copyright Office for the purpose of the Act. The Copyright Office is to be under the immediate control of a Registrar of Copyrights to be appointed by the Central Government, who would act under the superintendence and directions of the Central Government.

The Copyright Act requires the Central Government to constitute a Copyright Board headed by a Chairman with not less than two and not more than 14 other members. Registrar of Copyrights is to be Secretary of the Copyright Board. Section 12 of the Copyright Act also lays down the powers of the Copyright Board and deems it to be a civil court for the purposes of Sections 345 and 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and also that all the proceedings of the Board would be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of Sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code.

In India, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of computer software is covered under the Copyright Law. Accordingly, the copyright of computer software is protected under the provisions of Indian Copyright Act 1957. Major changes to Indian Copyright Law were introduced in 1994 and came into effect from May 10th 1995. These changes or amendments made the Indian Copyright law one of the toughest in the world.

Some of the key aspects of the law are

  • According to section 14 of this Act, it is illegal to make or distribute copies of copyrighted software without proper or specific authorization.
  • The violator can be tried under both civil and criminal law.
  • A civil and criminal action may be instituted for injunction, actual damages (including violator’s profits) or statutory damages per infringement etc.
  • Heavy punishment and fines for infringement of software copyright.
  • Section 63 B stipulates a minimum jail term of 7 days, which can be extended up to 3 years.

The amendments to the Copyright Act introduced in June 1994 were a landmark in India’s copyright law. The Copyright Law clearly explained

  • The rights of a copyright holder
  • Position on rentals of software
  • The rights of the user to make backup copies

Now, The Copyright Act is in full conformity with the TRIPS obligations.

Copyright in India during Post Independence Era

The Indian Copyright Act 1957 (the “1957 Act”) surpassed the ‘imperial’ law, which later got amended thrice. Sections 32A and 32B on ‘compulsory licenses’ for publication of copyrighted foreign works in any Indian language was introduced in 1983. Likewise, Copyright Board was conferred with the powers of:

(i) ordering revocation of the assigned copyright on certain grounds, (ii) publishing unpublished Indian works, and (iii) protecting oral works. It was made mandatory to publish details of all copyright registrations in the Gazette of India by the copyright office. Further, unlike prior to the amendment, the Act curtailed importation of an ‘infringing copy’ of a copyright work for ‘private and domestic use’. Amendment of 1994 includes:

  • The increase of the term of copyright from fifty years post mortem to sixty years;
  • The extension of copyright to new types of works including computer programs and performances;
  • The redefinition of “communication to the public” so that a work is communicated “regardless of whether any member of the public actually sees, hears or otherwise enjoys the work”.
  • An overhaul of the vocabulary employed in the Act, for instance – substituting ‘broadcast’ for ‘radio diffusion’, ‘work of architecture’ in the place of ‘architectural work’, ‘sound recording’ in the place of ‘record’
  • Clarification of the ownership of copyrights over public speeches and works by public undertakings.

Finally in 1999, the Act was further amended and provisions relating to international broadcasting rights were added. Fair dealing rights of users of computer programs were also promoted thereby permitting the making of personal copies and adaptations of computer programs if obtained legally. 

Copyright and National Economy 

The production and sale of copyrighted products from copyright industries such as printing and publishing of books, newspapers, journals & other periodicals, production and sale of audio products (Cassettes/CDs), production & distribution of cinemas, videos and cables, creation of computer software & databases and their distribution, radio and television broadcasting, advertising, photography, dramatic and musical performances etc work as a potential source towards economical growth of the nation. Exporting of copyrighted products strengthens the foreign exchange reserves position as well. India is the largest audio cassette market in the world in terms of number of units sold. By exporting software of worth millions the software industry in India has achieved a noteworthy growth rate.

Copyright and International Relations

With the advancement in technologies copyrighted items crossed the boundaries and hence the necessity of having copyright protection raised.  This resulted in negotiations between countries and took the shape of multilateral treaties. The first being Berne Convention which was concluded in 1886 and was meant for providing protection to literary and artistic works of member countries in its own territory and also entitled for enjoying equal protection from others. India is a member of both the Berne Convention and the UCC which was convened in Geneva in August, 1952.

Copyright Legislation

  • The Copyright Act, 1957
  • The Copyright Rules, 1958

The Copyright Act in India was enacted in the year 1957. It has been amended five times since then, once each in the years 1982, 1984, 1992, 1994 and 1999. Though the amendment in the year 1994 was quite comprehensive, only minor changes were introduced through the amendment made in the year 1999 to bring the Act in conformity with the TRIPS Agreement.

Prior to the Act of 1957, the Law of Copyrights in the country was governed by the Copyright Act of 1914. This Act was essentially the extension of the British Copyright Act, 1911 to India. Even the Copyright Act, 1957 adopted extensively from the new Copyright Act of the United Kingdom of 1956.

India’s copyright law, laid down in the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 as amended by Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1999, fully reflects the Berne Convention on Copyrights, to which India is a party. Additionally, India is party to the Geneva Convention for the Protection of rights of Producers of Phonograms and to the Universal Copyright Convention. India is also an active member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva and UNESCO. Though India is not a member of the Rome Convention of 1961, the Copyright Act, 1957 is fully compliant with the Rome Convention provisions.

The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1994 has incorporated a new section in place of the old section 37 of the Act which provides that every broadcasting organization will have a special right termed the “Broadcasting Reproduction Right” in respect of its broadcasts.

Before the amendment of the Copy right Act in 1994, there was no protection of the rights of performer, the amendment introduced the recognition of the rights of the performer under section 38 of the Act. Chapter VIII of The Amended Act of 1999 also applies to foreign broadcasting organization and performances held either in India or to which the order relates.

The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1994, extended the scope of operation as also it changed the nomenclature from Performing Rights Societies to Copyright Societies. The Copyright Societies are authorized to issue and grant licenses of the copyright in the work for reproduction, performance or communication to public.

The Copyright Act requires for establishment of an office to be called the Copyright Office for the purpose of the Act. The Copyright Office is to be under the immediate control of a Registrar of Copyrights to be appointed by the Central Government, who would act under the superintendence and directions of the Central Government.

The Copyright Act requires the Central Government to constitute a Copyright Board headed by a Chairman with not less than two and not more than 14 other members. Registrar of Copyrights is to be Secretary of the Copyright Board. Section 12 of the Copyright Act also lays down the powers of the Copyright Board and deems it to be a civil court for the purposes of Sections 345 and 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and also that all the proceedings of the Board would be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of Sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code.

In India, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of computer software is covered under the Copyright Law. Accordingly, the copyright of computer software is protected under the provisions of Indian Copyright Act 1957. Major changes to Indian Copyright Law were introduced in 1994 and came into effect from May 10th 1995. These changes or amendments made the Indian Copyright law one of the toughest in the world.

Some of the key aspects of the law are:

  • According to section 14 of this Act, it is illegal to make or distribute copies of copyrighted software without proper or specific authorization.
  • The violator can be tried under both civil and criminal law.
  • A civil and criminal action may be instituted for injunction, actual damages (including violator’s profits) or statutory damages per infringement etc.
  • Heavy punishment and fines for infringement of software copyright.
  • Section 63 B stipulates a minimum jail term of 7 days, which can be extended up to 3 years.

The amendments to the Copyright Act introduced in June 1994 were a landmark in India’s copyright laws.

The Copyright Law clearly explained

  • The rights of a copyright holder
  • Position on rentals of software
  • The rights of the user to make backup copies

The Copyright Act is now in full conformity with the TRIPS obligations. 

Advantages of Copyright

Copyright allows protection of your original material and stops others from using your work without your permission. Besides, it gives you the right to take legal action to stop them exploiting your copyright and to claim damages. Copyright allows the copyright holder to sell the copyright but retain the moral rights. If licensed the ownership retains with you though your creation can use by others. Copyright allows you to object if your work is distorted or mutilated. Non–enforcement of your copyright will allow others to copy your work without having to seek permission. 

Ownership of Copyright 

In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, the general rule is that the author, i.e. the person who created the work, is the first owner of the economic rights under copyright. However, where such a work is made in the course of employment, the employer is the first owner of these rights, unless an agreement to the contrary has been made with the author.

In the case of a film, the producer is the first owners of the economic rights and when the director is employed, the principal director and the film producer are joint authors.

In the case of a sound recording the record producer is the author and first owner of copyright; in the case of a broadcast, the broadcaster; and in case of a published edition, the publisher.

Copyright in material produced by a Government department belongs to the Government of India.

Copyright owners generally have the right to authorize or prohibit any of the following things in relation to their works:

  • Copying of the work in any way. eg. Photocopying / reproducing a printed page by handwriting, typing or scanning into a computer / taping live or recorded music.
  • Issuing copies of the work to the public.
  • Public delivery of lectures or speeches etc.
  • Broadcasting of the work, audio / video or including it in a cable program.
  • Making an adaptation of the work such as by translating a literary or dramatic work, transcribing a musical work and converting a computer program into a different computer language or code.

Rights of an owner of a Copyright

Copyright confers a number of rights, some or all of which can be granted non-exclusively and others exclusively such as to reproduce the work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means, to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation/ publication, to perform the work in public, or communicate it to the public, to make any cinematograph film or sound recording in respect of the work, to make any translation of the work and to make any adaptation of the work. In case of computer program the rights also includes to sell or give on hire despite of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions. 

Registration of Copyrights

  • Every application for registration of copyright and every application for registration of changes in the particulars of copyright entered in the Register of Copyrights shall be made in accordance with the prescribed forms.
  • Every such application shall be in respect of one work only, shall be made in triplicate and shall be accompanied by the fee specified in the Second Schedule in this behalf.
  • The person applying for registration shall give notice of his application to every person who claims or has any interest in the subject matter of the copyright or disputes the rights of the applicant to it.
  • If no objection to such registration is received by the Registrar of Copyrights within thirty days of the receipt of the application by him, he shall, if satisfied about the correctness of the particulars given in the application, enter such particulars in the Register of Copyrights.
  • If the Registrar of Copyright receives any objections for such registration within the time of thirty days of receipt of the application, he may, after holding such inquiry as he deems fit, enter such particulars of the work in the Register of Copyrights as he considers proper.
  • The Registrar of Copyrights shall, as soon as may be, send, wherever practicable, a copy of the entries made in the Register of Copyrights to the parties concerned. 

Term of Copyright 

If literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works are published within the life time of the author, the copyright shall subsist throughout the lifetime of the author plus 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year following the year in which the author dies.  In case of joint authorship, the author who dies last will be considered. For cinematography films, records, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous’ publication, works of government and international agencies the term is 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year following the year in which the work was published. For broadcasting, the term is 25 years from the beginning of the calendar year following the year, in which the broadcast was made. 

Assignment of Copyright 

The owner of the copyright can assign the copyright either fully or partially or subject to limitations or even rights of future work, specifying the term of assignment. Rights of future work come into effect only after the work exist. Putting in writing, signature of the assignee or his authorized agent, identification of the work, specifying the rights assigned, the duration, territorial extent of the assignment and specifying the royalty payable is mandatory for assignment. However there is no mandatory provision to register a deed of assignment of copyright. 

Copyright License

In India copyright license is granted by the registrar after going through a preliminary enquiry to the owner of the copyright in any existing work or the prospective owner of the copyright in any future work in writing signed by him or his duly authorized agent. License to future work will take into effect only when the work comes into existence. Upon the demise of the beneficiary of the license before coming into existence of the work, then the legal representative of the deceased will be entitled to get the benefit of the license. Payment of the royalty shall be from the public account of the nation. On breach by the licensee of the conditions of license, the license remains terminated. 

Compulsory Licensing 

Compulsory license can be obtained for the purposes of production and publication of the translation of work with respect to both published work or performed in public, making a complaint to the Copyright Board on the ground that the owner has refused to re-publish or allow the republication of the work or has refused to allow the performance of the work in public and by reason of such refusal the work is withheld from the public. The Copyright Board shall give an opportunity of hearing to the Copyright owner, before granting license. Upon the Board being convinced of the reason for refusal, it shall grant license subject to conditions and compensation as it deems fit.

For unpublished works, compulsory licenses shall be obtained by making an application to the Copyright board, if the author of the work:

  • Is dead; or
  • Is unknown; or
  • Cannot be traced; or
  • Cannot be found

Newspaper publication of the applicant’s proposal in the English language having circulation in major part of the country and also in one issue of any daily newspaper in the regional language is mandatory to be carried out before making an application in respect of an unpublished work. 

Related rights to Copyright 

Related rights to copyright provide similar protection, but for a limited and shorter duration covering a range of rights granted to performing artists, producers of sound recordings, broadcasting organizations in their radio and television programs, and creators/owners of databases. 

Infringement of Copyright & Remedies

Copyright in work is considered to be infringed in the following circumstances:

When any person does anything without a license granted by the owner of the copyright or the Registrar of Copyrights, which is, by Copyright Act, conferred upon the owner of copyright or – permits for profit any place to be used for the communication of the work to public where such communication constitutes an infringement of the copyright in the work. The burden of proof in litigation is on the copyright owner to show that copyright exists in the work in question and that the alleged infringer either directly or indirectly copied the work. Courts are empowered to grant temporary and permanent injunctions – impounding and destruction of all infringing copies – actual monetary damages plus the infringer’s profits – Statutory damages – Court costs and attorneys’ fees. Under Section 66 of the Copyright Act the court may order to deliver all infringed copies of the work in possession of the alleged offender, to the owner of copyright. Further owner of a copyright can initiate criminal proceedings against the infringer.

Common copyright infringements:

If a person without the consent or license of the owner of copyright does or authorizes the doing of any of the following acts, he will be guilty of infringement of copyright in the work:

  • To make infringing copies for sale or hire or selling or letting them for hire
  • To make any translation/adaptation of the work
  • Permitting any place for the performance of works in public where such performance constitutes infringement of copyright
  • To Distribute infringing copies for the purpose of trade or to such an extent so as to affect prejudicially the interest of the owner of copyright
  • Public exhibition of infringing copies by way of trade and
  • Importation of infringing copies into India.

And such person who infringes or abets shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may be extended to three years and with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees.

Remedies to infringement:

There are three kinds of remedies against infringement of copyright:

Civil remedies:

  • Civil remedies by which the author can sue another for reproduction of his books and selling them in the market. He can claim such civil remedies
  • Stopping such an infringement, that is, injunction
  • Damages in the form of monetary amount
  • Account of profit, that is, the profits which the defendant wrongly appropriated by sale of infringing copies
  • Damages for conversion can be claimed when an infringer stages a play based on the authors work

Criminal remedies:

  • The infringement of copyright has been declared as an offence, punishable with imprisonment of the accused or imposition of fine or both along with seizure of infringing copies.

Administrative remedies:

  • Administrative remedies consist of moving the Registrar of Copyrights to ban the import of infringing copies into India when the infringement is by way of such importation and the delivery of the confiscated infringing copies to the owner of the copyright and seeking the delivery. 

Exception to Infringement of Copyright

Section 51 gives a list of such acts which do not constitute infringement of copyright inclusive of fair dealing, educational purpose, library and archive use, use associated with public administration and certain acts carried out by lawful users of computer program. In respect of computer programs permitted acts allow lawful users to make back-up copies, to decompile program in limited circumstances, to copy and adapt programs in the ways consistent with lawful use. Creation of a similar work does not infringe if it is created independently without copying the original work. 

Software Copyright Law in India

The major amendments in the Copyright Amendment Act 1994 are following.

  • the definition of computer program,
  • explains the rights of copyright holder,
  • position on rentals of software,
  • the rights of the user to make backup copies, and
  • punishment and fines on infringement.

Section 14 of Indian Copyright Act defines, it is illegal to make or distribute copies of copyrighted software without proper authorization. The only exception is provided by the act, which follows a back up copy purely as a temporary protection against loss, distribution or damage to the original copy. The act prohibits the sale or to give on hire, or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the computer program without specific authorization of the Copyright holder. In this regard software copyright is different from copyright of literary work as they can be resold. Software is licensed to use in a particular machine. Indian law prohibits unauthorized duplication of software for use by different users or machines within an organization. The copyright infringer may be tried under both civil and criminal law. 

Copyright (Amendment) Act 1994 on Computer Programs

The Amendment Act confers the copyright holder with the additional exclusive right to sell, give on hire or offer for sale or hire any copy of the computer programs regardless of whether such a copy has been sold or given on will on earlier occasions. In other   words, even the legitimate owner (e.g. purchaser) of a copyrighted work cannot sell or rent his copy of the work. The Amendment effectively eliminates the ‘First Sale’ doctrine, under which a legitimate owner of a copyrighted work could further sell, transfer, lease or rent the work to another. Taking advantage of the First Sell doctrine, many rental companies used to purchase software programs (packages) and offer them for short term rentals – a practice which resulted in widespread reproduction of copyrighted works. The 1994 Amendments brings Indian law in conformity with the TRIPS Agreement. 

Copyright Protection for Computer Software in India 

The Copyright Act in India has provided for the registration of computer program. The Act provides for a definition of “literary work” which includes, work such as computer programs, tables and compilation including computer databases. As regards computer program written on paper, it is quite clear that as long as the requirements of originality are complied with, copyright exists in such work from that moment in the same way as it would in respect of any other literary work. “Original” means a work created through the “fruits of intellectual labour”. In order for protection to arise something more than the “sweat of the brow” was required. “Originality” thus, requires not only that the author has not copied the work from another, but also that there is “at least some minimal degree of creativity.”

Copyright in literary works carry the rights to control:

  • Reproduction of the work,
  • Preparation of derivative works,
  • Distribution of copies of the work,
  • Public performances of the work
  • Public display of the work. 

Advantage in registering a work with the Copyright Office.

Registration provides prima facie evidence of the facts stated thereon and in the event of infringement, the creator of the work or the owner does not have to prove that the work is original to attract protection under the Act.

Acts protected by Copyright 

Copyright subsists throughout India in (a) original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (b) cinematograph film and (c) sound recording (Section 13).

  • Literary, dramatic or musical work: The owner has exclusive right to reproduce work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means, to issue copies to the public, to perform or communicate the work to the public, to make cinematograph or sound recording in respect of the work, to translate or make any adaptation of the work. [14(a)].Artistic work includes a painting, a sculpture, a drawing, a photograph and an architectural work of art. A poster used in advertisement is also an artistic work. The work need not show any artistic quality but the author must have bestowed skill, judgment upon the work.
  • Cinematograph film: A producer has exclusive right to make copy of the film including photograph of any image forming part thereof, to sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire any copy of the film, to communicate the film to the public. [14(d)]. “Cinematograph film” means any work of visual recording on any medium produced through a process from which a moving image may be produced by any means and includes a sound recording accompanying such visual recording and “cinematograph” shall be construed as including any work produced by any process analogous to cinematography including video films.
  • Sound recording: A composer has exclusive right to make any other sound recording embodying it, or offer for sale or hire any copy of the film, to communicate the film to the public. [14(e)].Rights conferred by section 14 upon the author are the economic rights, because exploitation of the work by himself or by licensing it for royalty may bring economic benefit to the author. Object of copyright law is to encourage authors, composers and artists to create original works by giving them exclusive right for limited period to reproduce the work for the benefit of the public. It is a negative right to prevent others from copying their work.

Computer programs: In addition to the above rights, the owner has exclusive right to sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire any copy of the program. The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1999 has added one more right; i.e., to sell or give on commercial rental or offer for sale or for commercial rental any copy of the program. [14(b)].

Copyright Protection

Copyright is absolutely automatic. There is total absence of formal requirements for obtaining copyright protection. Even the international symbol of copyright is not a prerequisite for protection under the law. Obviously, the conferment of legal right without any kind of administrative works or expense has created a very convenient and efficient system of protection to the creator of the different intellectual works. Copyright protections are less onerous than those under the fields of patents, industrial design & trademarks. To acquire copyright protection a work must be original & have literary merit that should contribute to information, instruction or entertainment of persons other than the owner. 

Coverage for Government Work

The copyright of 1957 also calls for protection of government work. Government work, according to the act, refers to all works that are made, published and made under the direction or control of the government, the legislature, the courts, tribunal and other judicial authority.

Formation and Powers of Copyright Board

The Copyright Act provides for a judicial body called the Copyright Board consisting of a Chairman and two or more, but not exceeding fourteen. The Chairman of the Board is of the level of a judge of a High Court. The Chairman and other members are appointed for a period of not exceeding five years.

The Board has the power to

  • Hear appeals against the orders of the Registrar of Copyright
  • Hear applications for rectification of entries in the Register of Copyrights
  • Adjudicate upon disputes on assignment of copyright
  • Grant compulsory licenses to publish or republish works (in certain circumstances)
  • Grant compulsory license to produce and publish a translation of a literary or dramatic work in any language after a period of seven years from the first publication of the work
  • Hear and decide disputes as to whether a work has been published or about the date of publication or about the term of copyright of a work in another country
  • Fix rates of royalties in respect of sound recordings under the cover-version provision and
  • Fix the resale share right in original copies of a painting, a sculpture or a drawing and of original manuscripts of a literary or dramatic or musical work. 

Copyright Acts & Rules

  • Copyright Act 1957
  • Copyright Rules 1958
  • Copyright (Amendment) Act 1994
  • International Copyright Order 1999 

International conventions and treaties dealing with copyright protection

  • Berne Conventions of 1886
  • Universal Conventions of 1951
  • TRIPS Agreement (WTO), as of January 1, 1995
TOP
Translate »
We have moved
Raheja Plaza- I 201 A, 2nd Floor
LBS Marg, Ghatkopar West
Mumbai- 400086

Tel.: 022-22696622 (5 lines)
Email: support@rahlegal.in
our corporate office to