Copyright is designed as the right of an original piece of work owned by an individual. It is fixed in a medium of expression letting the copyright holder exclusively reproduce, perform, distribute and display the work. The original creator and the person who obtained rights to the work can register a copyright on the same.

Taking a cue from the English Copyright Act of 1911, the first ever Copyright Act was enacted in 1914. Once the country achieved independence, Copyright Act, 1957 was enacted and has seen amendments being made to it six times, the last being in 2012.

What is Copyright?

A copyright is essentially a right not to copy someone’s work. A copyright gives the owner of the subject an exclusive right over his work. If a work is protected by copyright, no one can imitate, copy or reproduce the original work in any other way. A term of copyright in India is 60 years. Copyright can be taken for the following works:

  1. Music
  2. Books
  3. Manuscripts
  4. Films
  5. Fashion Designs
  6. Training Manuals
  7. Software
  8. Literary Work
  9. Performance
  10. Paintings etc.

What Does a Copyright Protect?

It is a form of intellectual property law, which protects original works under literature, music, art, photography, cinema/film or even a computer programme. The copyright protects most of the works that are available in tangible form, including lyrics to a song, tunes, pictures, graphics, sculpture, piece of architecture, sound recordings, drama, choreographed works, parodies, signatures. All these must be viewed in more depth to get intricate details.

What is not Protected by Copyright?

There are various categories of work that don’t fit the bill for a copyright:
Those pieces of work that cannot be fixed in a tangible expression, like unrecorded works, performances of the improvisational kind, or any other speech / performance that has not been written or recorded. Works including titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; symbols or designs that are familiar with others; basic typographic finery, lettering, use of colouring techniques, lists of ingredients or contents. Ideas, systems, methods processes as distinguished from the said description, explanation or an illustration. Finally, facts and figures that are generic property cannot be registered for a copyright. These may include, standard calendars, charts of height/weight, information from public documents, and the like.

What are the Rights of the Copyright Owner?

The copyright gives complete and exclusive rights to the owner of the work:
The owner can choose to reproduce the work and/or authorize someone else to do it
Any derivative work that comes from the original work is carried out by the owner of the Copyright or the authorized person. The owner can also distribute copies of his/her work to the public in any form i.e. sale of transfer of ownership, rent the work, lease the work, etc.
Any of the copyrighted work can be performed and displayed readily in public. And the rights hold across all platforms, be it literature, music, drama, choreography, cinema, films, audio visual works.

Why should one get their work registered under the copyright law?

It is not mandatory to get copyright protection but always advisable to do so because it will give the owner a certain set of minimum rights over his work and the protection that no one will be able to copy his work for a minimum period of time. This satisfaction will always motivate the owner to do more work and create more items.

What are the Documents and Information required in registration of copyright?

In a general case, the following documents and details are required for filing of an application:-

  • Name, address, and nationality of the Applicant.
  • Name, address, and Nationality of the Author.
  • In case the Applicant and Author are different, a No Objection Certificate from the Author.
  • A Power of Attorney if the application is filed by an Attorney on behalf of the Applicant.
  • Copy of the Work.

What is the procedure to obtain a copyright registration?

To obtain the copyright registration the following process has to be followed:

  • An application (including all the particulars and the statement of the particulars) in the format of FORM IV has to have to be sent to the registrar along with the requisite fees (mentioned in the Schedule 2 of the act.). A separate application has to be made for separate works
  • Every application has to be signed by the applicant as well as an Advocate in whose favor a Vakalatnama or a POA has been executed
  • The registrar will issue a Dairy No. and then there is a mandatory waiting time for a period of 30 days for any objections to be received
  • If there are no objections received within 30 days, the scrutinizer will check the application for any discrepancy and if no discrepancy is there, the registration will be done and an extract will be sent to the registrar for the entry in the Register of Copyright.
  • If any objection is received, the examiner will send a letter to both the parties about the objections and will give them both a hearing.
  • After the hearing, if the objections are resolved the scrutineer will scrutinize the application and approve or reject the application as the case may be.


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