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What is Copyright
Copyright is a combination of various rights that allows owner of copyright the exclusive right to print, distribute, and copy the work and to prohibit others from doing the same without his consent. It is an original expression of an idea that is subject matter of copyright. Copyright is provided automatically to the author of any original work covered by the law as soon as the work is created. The author does not have to formally register the work and extends to unpublished as well as published works. Copyright extends to original literary (including computer programmes), dramatic, musical, artistic, cinematographic films and sound recording.
Copyright office in India
The only Copyright office in India is located at New Delhi. All Indian and foreign applications have to be filed in New Delhi office for copyright Registration.
Copyright filing requirements in India
Following are the basic requirements for filing of a Copyright application in India:
  1. Name, address, nationality and particulars of the applicant (whether individual, society, trust, partnership firms or company)
  2. Description of work
  3. Statement of further particulars
  4. Nature of applicant’s interest in copyrighting the work
  5. Title of work
  6. Details of publication of work, if published, including name, address, nationality of publishers
  7. Details as to owners of various rights in the work comprising the copyright, including extent of their right and particulars of assignment and license, if any
  8. Name, address, nationality of other persons, if any authorised to assign or license the work comprising the copyright
  9. Location of work including name, address, nationality of person in possession of work, in case of an artistic work and completion of year in case of architectural work
  10. Certificate from Registrar of trademarks if the artistic work is used or capable of being used in relation to any business
  11. 5 copies of the work (physical form or electronic form)
  12. Power of authority in favour of Indian Attorney/ Advocate, to be stamped in India.
Term of Copyright

In case of foreign works, the term shall not exceed the term for which the work is originally protected in the country of first publication. In India Copyright Term is as follows:

  1. In published literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (other than a photograph) published during lifetime of author- 60 years from first day of following year in which the author dies
  2. In literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (other than a photograph) published anonymously or pseudonymously- 60 years from first day of following year in which the work is first published. Duration as explained in serial number 1 above, if identity of author disclosed before expiry of term of copyright
  3. In literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (other than a photograph) published posthumous- 60 years from first day of following year in which the work is first published
  4. In photograph - 60 years from first day of following year in which photograph is first published
  5. In Cinematographic films- 60 years from first day of following year in which film is first published
  6. In Sound recording - 60 years from first day of following year in which sound recording is first published
  7. In works where Government, public undertaking or international organisation is first application - 60 years from first day of following year in which work is first published
  8. In Broadcasting - 25 years from first day of following year in which broadcast is first made
  9. In Performance - 50 years from first day of following year in which performance is first made
Exception to infringement of copyright
A fair dealing with literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (not being a computer programme) for private use including research including criticism or review of the work, for purpose of reporting in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical or by broadcast, sound recording or by photographs or for purpose of a judicial proceeding or for purpose of reporting for judicial proceedings or for instruction for purpose of education or examination.
Licensing and Assignment
Owner of the Copyright can license as well as assign his work. The assignment has to be in writing and must clearly identify the work, duration and territorial extent of such assignment. In case of work under employment, the employer shall be the owner of the work in absence of any agreement to contrary.
Compulsory Licensing
Compulsory Licensing can be invoked under certain circumstances for both published as well as unpublished works. Compulsory licenses can also be sought for the purposes of production and publication of the translation of works.
Enforcement of Copyright
India is a member of the Berne Convention and TRIPS, therefore owner of copyright from another member country will get same copyright protection in India. However, the duration of copyright shall not exceed the original duration in the member country
Infringement of copyright
Copyright in a work is deemed to be infringed when any person, without a license granted by the owner of the copyright does anything, the exclusive right to do which is by the Act conferred upon the owner of the copyright
Acts Constituting Infringement of copyright
The following acts if done or authorised to be done by someone else, without consent or permission of the copyright owner, are considered as infringement of copyright:
  1. Reproducing the work in any material form
  2. Issuing copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation
  3. Including the work in any cinematographic film
  4. Making an adaptation of the work
  5. Doing any of the acts specified at (i) to (iii) above in relation to adaptation of work
  6. Communicating the work to the public, if aware that such act shall amount to infringement of copyright
  7. Making, selling, letting on hire, distributing, importing or holding trade exhibits in public of infringed work
Appropriate forum for copyright dispute
A suit for infringement of copyright has to be filed in a District court or High court (depending upon pecuniary jurisdiction) within whose territorial jurisdiction the cause of action has arisen.
Test to determine Copyright Violation/ infringement
One of the surest test to determine whether or not there has been a violation of copyright is to see if the trader, spectator, or the viewer after having read or seen both the works would be clearly of the opinion and get an unmistakable impression that the subsequent work appears to be a copy of the first.
Before Copyright Registry- Administrative Remedy
Registrar of Copyright has the power to ban import of infringing copies into India and delivery of infringing copies of copyright work confiscated earlier from infringer to the owner of the copyright on an application made by the owner of copyright or his duly authorized agent
Before Courts- Civil Remedy
The owner of the copyright has the following remedies against infringement
  1. Injunction- Ex parte/ permanent
  2. Damages
  3. Anton Pillar Order
  4. Seizure of goods
  5. Rendition of accounts
Before Courts- Criminal Remedy
Copyright Infringement is a cognizable offence (non-bailable offence) the offence of infringement of copyright is punishable with imprisonment, which may extend from a minimum punishment of 6 months to maximum of 3 years and with a fine not less than fifty thousand rupees and extending upto two lakh rupees. For the second and subsequent conviction the minimum term of imprisonment is increased to minimum one year and minimum fine is one lakh rupees