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Indian Copyright Law

Easy steps to protect your work in India

Indian Copyright Law

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.
Indian copyright law is governed by the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. Copyright Law in the country was governed by the Copyright Act of 1914,which was essentially the extension of the British Copyright Act, 1911 to India,and borrowed extensively from the new Copyright Act of the United Kingdom of 1956. Now Indian Copyright is governed by the Indian Copyright Act, 1957

Procedure for Registration of Copyrights in India
Copyright comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring copyright. However, facilities exist for having the work registered in the Register of Copyrights maintained in the Copyright Office of the Department of Education. The entries made in the Register of Copyrights serve as prima-facie evidence in the court of law. The Copyright Office has been set up to provide registration facilities to all types of works and is headed by a Registrar of Copyrights.

Guidelines Regarding Registration of a Work under the Copyright Act
Chapter VI of the Copyright Rules, 1956, as amended, sets out the procedure for the registration of a work. Copies of the Act and Rules can be obtained from the Manager of Publications, Publication Branch, Civil Lines, Delhi or his authorized dealers on payment. The procedure for registration is as follows:

a. Application for registration is to be made on Form IV (Including Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars) as prescribed in the first schedule to the Rules ;
b. Separate applications should be made for registration of each work;
c. Each application should be accompanied by the requisite fee prescribed in the second schedule to the Rules; and
d. The applications should be signed by the applicant or the advocate in whose favor a Vakalatnama or Power of Attorney has been executed. The Power of Attorney signed by the party and accepted by the advocate should also be enclosed.

Each and every column of the Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars should be replied specifically.

Both published and unpublished works can be registered. Copyright in works published before 21st January, 1958, i.e., before the Copyright Act, 1957 came in force, can also be registered, provided the works still enjoy copyright. Three copies of published work may be sent along with the application. If the work to be registered is unpublished, a copy of the manuscript has to be sent along with the application for affixing the stamp of the Copyright Office in proof of the work having been registered.

In case two copies of the manuscript are sent, one copy of the same duly stamped will be returned, while the other will be retained, as far as possible, in the Copyright Office for record and will be kept confidential. It would also be open to the applicant to send only extracts from the unpublished work instead of the whole manuscript and ask for the return of the extracts after being stamped with the seal of the Copyright Office.

When a work has been registered as unpublished and subsequently it is published, the applicant may apply for changes in particulars entered in the Register of Copyright in Form V with prescribed fee.

Term of Copyright
The duration of copyrights varies from country to country. The minimum duration of copyright protection under Berne Convention is 50 years. European Union and for countries of the European economic area and in the US the duration is 70 years. In India copyrights are protected for a period of sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies.
In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the 60-year period is counted from the year following the death of the author. In the case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government and works of international organisations, the 60-year period is counted from the date of publication.

Copyright infringement: Criminal offence under the copyright law
Any person who knowingly infringes or abets the infringement of the copyright in any work commits criminal offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act.
The minimum punishment for infringement of copyright is imprisonment for six months with the minimum fine of Rs. 50,000/-. In the case of a second and subsequent conviction the minimum punishment is imprisonment for one year and fine of Rs. one lakh.
Any police officer, not below the rank of a sub inspector, may, if he is satisfied that an offence in respect of the infringement of copyright in any work has been, is being, or is likely to be committed, seize without warrant, all copies of the work and all plates used for the purpose of making infringing copies of the work, wherever found, and all copies and plates so seized shall, as soon as practicable be produced before a magistrate.

By Adv. Chitranjali Negi

Published on 16 February 2012

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