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What is copyright?

“Copyright” is a form of intellectual property protection granted to the creators of original works such as art work, cinema film, sound recording, drama, literary work.

What all works can have copyright?

  • Literary work (Eg. Books)
  • Dramatic and musical work (i.e. Drama, Play, Movie etc.)
  • Artistic work (i.e. Logo, design etc.)
  • Software Programme
  • Architecture work
  • Cinematograph Film
  • Sound Recording
  • Website etc.

Rights of the copyright owner

Right of Reproduction

This is the most prominent right which is acquired after the copyright protection. This right authorizes the person having such copyright to make copies of the protected work in any form. In the modern context copying, a song on a Compact Device or any sound and visual recording can be considered as a reproduction of the content. Prior to copying the permission of the author is required unless it can be shown that such copying is not intended to make any commercial benefits out of it.

Right to Distribute

Right to distribute is an off-shoot of the right of reproduction. The person who owns the copyright owner may distribute his work in any manner he deems fit. The owner is also entitled to transfer the whole or some rights in favor of any other person while retaining others. For example, he can entitle any person to translate his work..

Right to make Derivative Works

The copyright has the right to use his work in various ways, for instance making adaptations or translations. One example of adaptation is making a movie based on a novel, so here to make any derivative work the consent of the owner is mandatorily required. In these situations, certain other rights of the owner also come into play, like the right to integrity which protects the owner against deformation, defacement or modification of his work in a way that it is harmful for his reputation.

Right to Publicly Perform

The owner of the copyright has the right to publicly perform his works. Example, he may perform dramas based on his work or may perform at concerts, etc. This also includes the right of the owner to broadcast his work. This includes the right of the owner to make his work accessible to the public on the internet. This empowers the owner to decide the terms and conditions to access his work.

Right to Follow

This right is granted generally only to the authors and artists. This empowers the authors to obtain a percentage of the subsequent sales of his work and is called Droit de Suite or Right to Follow. The right is also available to artists on resale of their work.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is copyright?

Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work.

Copyright ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity. Creativity being the keystone of progress, no civilized society can afford to ignore the basic requirement of encouraging the same. Economic and social development of a society is dependent on creativity. The protection provided by copyright to the efforts of writers, artists, designers, dramatists, musicians, architects and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films and computer software, creates an atmosphere conducive to creativity, which induces them to create more and motivates others to create.

What is the scope of protection in the Copyright Act, 1957?

The Copyright Act, 1957 protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings from unauthorized uses. Unlike the case with patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the ideas. There is no copyright protection for ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such (Please see Article 9.2. of TRIPS).

Does copyright apply to titles and names?

Copyright does not ordinarily protect titles by themselves or names, short word combinations, slogans, short phrases, methods, plots or factual information. Copyright does not protect ideas or concepts. To get the protection of copyright a work must be original.

Is it necessary to register a work to claim copyright?

No. Acquisition of copyright is automatic and it does not require any formality. Copyright comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring copyright. However, certificate of registration of copyright and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to dispute relating to ownership of copyright.

How can I get copyright registration for my Web-site?

A website may be understood as a webpage or set of interconnected webpages, hosted or stored on a server, and is made available online to members of public. Users can access the information and other underlying work on a website through various means such as scrolling webpages, using internal hypertext links or a search feature.

Website usually consists of different rudiments which may be copyrightable subject matter that falls within any one of the classes of works set forth in Section 13 of Copyright Act, 1957. The component parts of website can be in different form of digital files such as text, tables, computer programmes, compilations including computer databases (“literary works”); photographs, paintings, diagram, map, chart or plan (“artistic works”); works consisting of music and including graphical notation of such work (“musical works”); “sound recordings” and “cinematograph films”.

Website as a whole is not subject to copyright protection. Generally, non-copyrightable content particular to websites may include but are not limited to ideas or future plans of websites, functional elements of websites, unclaimable material, layout and format or ‘look and feel’ of a website or its webpage; or other common, unoriginal material such as names, icons or familiar

Applicant is required to submit a separate application for each component work/content appearing on a website.