Copyright is the exclusive right given to the creator of a creative work to reproduce the work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyright is intended to protect the original expression of an idea in the form of a creative work, but not the idea itself. A copyright is subject to limitations based on public interest considerations, such as the fair use doctrine in the United States. Some jurisdictions require “fixing” copyrighted works in a tangible form. It is often shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work, and who are commonly referred to as rights holders. These rights frequently include reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and moral rights such as attribution.

Copyrights can be granted by public law and are in that case considered “territorial rights”. This means that copyrights granted by the law of a certain state, do not extend beyond the territory of that specific jurisdiction. Copyrights of this type vary by country; many countries, and sometimes a large group of countries, have made agreements with other countries on procedures applicable when works “cross” national borders or national rights are inconsistent.

The Copyright Act 1957 (as amended by the Copyright Amendment Act 2012) governs the subject of copyright law in India. The Act is applicable from 21 January 1958. The history of copyright law in India can be traced back to its colonial era under the British Empire. The Copyright Act 1957 was the first post-independence copyright legislation in India and the law has been amended six times since 1957. The most recent amendment was in the year 2012, through the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012. India is a member of most of the important international conventions governing the area of copyright law, including the Berne Convention of 1886 (as modified at Paris in 1971), the Universal Copyright Convention of 1951, the Rome Convention of 1961 and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Initially, India was not a member of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) but subsequently entered the treaty in 2013


  1.  Its main objective is to encourage the authors, music composers singers to create the original piece of works by granting them exclusive rights
  2. To stop the misuse of copyright
  3. Its helps in protecting the right of the person who holds the copyright
  4. The copyright holder is give both the civil remedies and the criminal remedies in case of infringement
  5. Further it provides methods of acquiring the copyrights, the copyrights protection is given for a longer period of time

Salient Features of Copyright Act, 1957

  1. Definition of various categories of work in which copyright subsists and the scope of the rights conferred on the author under the Act.
  2. Provisions to determine the first ownership of copyright in various categories of works.
  3. Terms of copyright for different categories of works.
  4. Provisions relating to assignment of ownership and licensing of copyright including compulsory licensing in certain circumstances.
  5. Provisions relating to performing rights of or by societies.
  6. Broadcasting rights.
  7. International copyright
  8. Definition of infringement of copyright
  9. Exception to the exclusive right conferred on the author or acts which do not constitute infringement.
  10. Author’s special rights
  11. Civil and criminal remedies against infringement
  12. Remedies against groundless threat of legal proceedings
  13. Creation of a Copyright Office and a Copyright Board to facilitate registration of copyright and to settle certain kinds of disputes arising under the Act and for compulsory licensing of copyright.


The Act of 1957 was enacted in conformity with provisions of Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention. The Act of 1957 was further amended as follows :—

  1. Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1983
  2. Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1984
  3. Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1992
  4. Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1994
  5. Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1999
  6. Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012

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