Berne Convention 1886, states that copyright protects literary and artistic works. In the area of law, literary and artistic properties fall within the legal framework of intellectual property. They can be considered as the mind work of the author or the owner. In any protected work the owner may use the work “as he or she wishes”. Copyright basically prevents other from using the original work, without the owner’s authorization. However, it could be said that copyright is an “exclusive right” given to the owner.

The Doctrine of Fair Dealing

The term “Fair Dealing” is undefined in the statute. It is a legal doctrine which permits limited use of the copyrighted word to any person without the authorization of the owner.

The fair dealing depends on the following four factors:

  • Purpose of use
  • Nature of work
  • Amount of work being used, and
  • Effect of the used work on the original one

In the case of Kartar Singh Giani v. Ladha Singh[1]

The High Court highlighted two important points in regarding of Fair Dealing-

  1. There should be no intention to compete and derive profit from it.
  2. Unless the motive of infringer is unfair, it would be considered as fair dealing

Rights Protected by Copyright

There are two types of rights which are protected under copyright-

  1. Economic Rights– The authors of copyright in the aforesaid works enjoy economic rights under section 14 of the Act. It allows the owner of right to transfer or assignee other owners for financial rewards or royalty based on the proposed usage of work.
  2. Moral Rights– Section 57 of the Act defines the two basic ‘moral rights of an author. It remains with the original owner of the work and cannot be transferred. It can be used for economic benefits but the rights will still remain with owner.



  • Right of reproduction
  • Rights of public performance, broadcasting and Communication to the public and making available.
  • Rights of translation and adaptation


  • Right of attribution
  • Right of integrity

Licensing and Assignment of Copyright


According to Section 18 of the Copyright Act, 1957 the owner of the copyright has the right to transfer his copyright to any person or organization, either partly or wholly. The effect of assignment is that the assignee becomes entitled to all the rights related to the copyright to the assigned work[3]. After the assignment of the copyright the assignee shall be treated as the owner of the copyright and also in respect of unsigned rights. And in line with Section 20 of the Act, if the assignee dies before the work coming into existence, the legal representative of the assignee will be benefited with the assignment.


It can be classified into two categories-

  1. Voluntary license (Section 30)

According to the Act, owner of copyright may grant the right by permitting license for any existing work or the prospective owner of copyright in any future work by his signed writing or by authorized agent duly, by his free will.

  1. Compulsory license (Section 31)

It is a term used for the statutory license which gives an exclusive right to do an act without the prior permission of the owner of the copyright. Section 31 provides for compulsory licensing of copyrighted work which is withheld from the public.

[1] AIR 1945 All 55

[2] DL-101, General Course on intellectual property, WIPO, at 12, 2019

[3] Section 8(2), the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1992, No. 13, Acts of Parliament, 1992 (India).

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