What is copyright?

Creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings can obtain rights over their original work by taking copyright license on their work.

Copyright prevents unauthorised use of the original work and thus protects and rewards the creativity. A bundle of rights is given to the creators of giving rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation, and translation of the work.

Copyright is different from a patent. While in a patent, ideas are protected, copyright protects the expression and not the ideas. Hence, while there can be more than one idea, copyright ensures that the final outcome from such idea isn’t copied unless authorised.

What is covered under work?

Work covers artistic, dramatic, literary, musical work or cinematograph film or work of sculpture. For the entire list, one can refer to Section 2 of the Indian copyright act,1957.

6 Essential Facts on Copyright
  • Why bother to register copyright?

    Copyright recognises the exclusive rights of the creator over an original work. Music, books, manuscripts, software, films, fashion designs, even brochures and training manuals all enjoy copyright protection, even without registration. Basically, the moment you create an original work, you are its exclusive owner. However, in the commercial world, the reason why artists, publishers and corporates still bother to register the copyright on their work is that it’s the only way to approach the courts in case of a dispute.

  • What is the purpose of the copyright registrar?

    The copyright registrar primarily serves as an office of record, a place where claims to copyright are registered and documents related to copyright are recorded. The office furnishes information about the provisions of the copyright law and the procedures for making registration, to explain the operations and practices of the copyright office, and to report on facts found in its public records.

  • What copyright protection do I get?

    Copyright protection arises automatically the moment the author fixes the work in a tangible form (for instance when a writer writes her story) without the author having to do anything. Registering your work with the registrar of the copyright office is basically a copyright protection insurance policy. It creates a public record of the work and you can then sue anyone for copyright infringement. Furthermore, this registration is only recognised prima facie if done within five years of the creation of the work. It isn’t as if you can just postpone registration until someone actually does steal your work.

  • How would another party prove rights to my work?

    Another party will need to prove their right to the work by showing they had a pre-existing copyright claim to the work, proving that you permitted its use, that you didn’t actually create the work or that you stole the copyright from them.

  • What are performer's rights?

    Any person hearing it could by taking down the lecture or story in shorthand reduces it to material form. Similarly, music could be recorded on tape. Therefore, do the persons who first reduced the performance to a material form become the copyright owners of the lecture, story or dramatic performance or music? This is not so, as certain special rights (performer's rights) have been conferred upon any performer of his performance. The performer in this context includes an actor, singer, musician, dancer, acrobat, juggler, conjurer, a person delivering a lecture or any other person who delivers a performance.

  • Can I copyright a film or sound recording?

    In case you want to copyright a video, film or an audio recording track, it is recommended that you get an NoC from all the people involved in its making. This will protect you from any objections from them at a later date. This has become imperative now after the latest Supreme Court guidelines on sound recording and cinematography copyright registration.

  • Documents To Be Submitted

    TM Certificate | Certificate of Trademark Registration (if any)
    Details of the Party | Name and description of the assignor and assignee
    NOC | No Objection Certificate from the original owner of the registered trademark

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TaxFillingIndia: Legal Information for Indian businesses

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