Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to make copies of a creative 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.
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.
Typically, the public law duration of a copywright expires 50 to 100 years after the creator dies. Some countries require certain copywright formalities to establishing copyright, others recognize copyright in any completed work, without a formal registration. In general, many believe that the long copyright duration guarantees the better protection of works
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.
In a 2016 copyright lawsuit, the Delhi High Court states that copyright is “not an inevitable, divine, or natural right that confers on authors the absolute ownership of their creations. It is designed rather to stimulate activity and progress in the arts for the intellectual enrichment of the public. Copyright is intended to increase and not to impede the harvest of knowledge. It is intended to motivate the creative activity of authors and inventors in order to benefit the public.”
The Indian copyright law protects literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, cinematograph films and sound recordings.
The author of a work is generally considered as the first owner of the copyright under the Copyright Act 1957. However, for works made in the course of an author’s employment under a “contract of service” or apprenticeship, the employer is considered as the first owner of copyright, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary.
The concept of joint authorship is recognised in Section. 2(z) of the Act which provides that
“a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of one author is not distinct from the contribution of the other author or authors”
is a work of joint authorship. This concept has been elucidated in cases like
Najma Heptulla v Orient Longman ltd and others
Section 19 of the Copyright Act 1957 lays down the modes of assignment of copyright in India. Assignment can only be in writing and must specify the work, the period of assignment and the territory for which assignment is made.
REGISTRATION – Purpose and Procedure
The purpose of copyright registration is to place on record a verifiable account of the date and content of the work in question, so that in the event of a legal claim, or case of infringement or plagiarism, the copyright owner can produce a copy of the work from an official government source.
The steps involved in the registration process are:
Step 1: File an Application
In the first step:
• The author of the work, copyright claimant, owner of an exclusive right for the work or an authorized agent file an application either physically in the copyrights office or through speed/registered post or through e-filing facility available on the official website.
• For registration of each work, a separate application must be filed with the registrar along with the particulars of the work. Along with this, the requisite fee must also be given, Different types of work have different fees.
For example, getting the copyright for an artistic work registered, the application fees is INR 500, while for getting the copyright for a cinematograph film registered is INR 5000. The application fees range from INR. 5000 to INR. 40000. It can be paid through a demand draft (DD) or Indian postal order (IPO) addressed to the Registrar of Copyright Payable at New Delhi or through e-payment facility. This application must be filed with all the essential documents.
At the end of this step, the registrar will issue a dairy number to the applicant.
Step 2: Examination
In the next step, the examination of the copyright application takes place.
Once the dairy number is issued, there is a minimum 30 days waiting period. In this time period, the copyright examiner reviews the application. This waiting period exists so that objections can arise and be reviewed. Here the process gets divided into two segments:
• In case there are no objections, the examiner goes ahead to review and scrutinize the application to find any discrepancy.
1. If there is no fault and all the essential documents and information is provided along with the application, it is a case of zero discrepancies. In this case, the applicant is allowed to go forward with the next step.
2. In case some discrepancies are found, a letter of discrepancy is sent to the applicant. Based upon his reply, a hearing is conducted by the registrar. Once the discrepancy is resolved, the applicant is allowed to move forward to the next step.
• In case of objections by someone against the applicant, letters are sent out to both parties and they are called to be heard by the registrar.
1. Upon hearing if the objection is rejected, the application goes ahead for scrutiny and the above-mentioned discrepancy procedure is followed.
2. In case the objection is not clarified or discrepancy is not resolved, the application is rejected and a rejection letter is sent to the applicant. For such applicant, the copyright registration procedure ends here.
Step 3: Registration
The final step in this process can be termed as registration. In this step, the registrar might ask for more documents. Once completely satisfied with the copyright claim made by the applicant, the Registrar of Copyrights would enter the details of the copyright into the register of copyrights and issue a certificate of registration.
The process registration of copyright completes when the applicant is issued the Extracts of the Register of Copyrights (ROC).
Essential documents required for copyright registration
Before we discuss the procedure which you must follow if you want to get your work registered under the Indian Copywright Act, 1957 we must look into the essential documents that you require for smooth registration.
Though there are some special requirements for different kinds of work, broadly the essential requirements are:
• 3 copies of the work if the work is published;
• If the work is not published, then 2 copies of manuscripts;
• If the application is being filed by an attorney, then special power of attorney or wakalatnama signed by the attorney and the party;
• Authorization in respect of work, if the work is not the work of the applicant;
• Information regarding the title and language of the work;
• Information regarding the name, address and nationality of the applicant;
• Applicant must also provide his mobile number and email address;
• If the applicant is not the author, a document containing the name, address and nationality of the author, and if the author is deceased, the date of his death;
• If the work is to be used on a product, then a no-objection certificate from the trademark office is required;
• If the applicant is other than the author, a no-objection certificate from the author is required. In this case, an authorization of the author may also be required;
• If a person’s photo is appearing in the work, then a no-objection certificate from such person is required;
• In case the publisher is not the applicant, a no-objection certificate from the publisher is required;
• If the work is published, the year and address of first publication is also required;
• Information regarding the year and country of subsequent publications;
• In case of copyright is for software, then source code and object code are also required.
Art and Mindfulness give rise to Creativity , which is the most essential requirement to enable progress in society. Encouraging creativity enables economic and social development of a society. Copyright protects the creativity of people and becomes a source of motivation for the artists, authors, etc. Registering your work with the Registrar of Copyrights provides you with the right to reproduce it, the right to adapt the work, right to paternity and right to distribute the work.

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