There is a surge in the amount of intellectual property being registered in India due to an increase in awareness among people about intellectual property laws and the advancement of technology, allowing for online registration of many of the type of intellectual property being created. Copyright registration is one of the key types of intellectual property protection and allows for the protection of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works.
Copyright is a right to ownership and enjoyment given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. It is a bundle of rights comprising of rights to reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. Copyright ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of ownership and enjoyment of the authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity.
Any work namely literary, dramatic, musical, artistic work, cinematograph film, or sound recording, can be copyrighted. Copyrights are given in India in mainly three classes of work, and each class has its own distinctive rights under the Copyright Act. Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works are one class of work that comprise of copyrights for books, music, painting, a sculpture, etc., Cinematograph films are another class of copyright which consists of any work of visual recording on any medium. Finally, sound recordings are a distinctive class under the copyright act consisting of a recording of sounds, regardless of the medium on which such recording is made or the method by which the sounds are produced.
A limited amount of copyright protection comes into existence as soon as a work is created, and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring copyright. However, to prove ownership over copyright and to serve as prima-facie evidence in the court of law, works can be registered in the Register of Copyrights maintained in the Copyright Office of the Department of Education. To copyright registration application is to be made on Form IV in a requisite manner along with the applicable fee. Both published and unpublished works can be copyrighted. In the case of published work, three copies of the published work have to be presented along with the application. In case of unpublished work, a copy of the manuscript has to be sent along with the application for affixing the stamp of the Copyright Office in proof of the work having been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.
Copyright protection typically lasts for 60 years. 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 organizations, the 60 year period is counted from the date of publication.
Process for Copyright Registration
Copyright registration can be obtained for both published and unpublished works. Copyright registration can be obtained by applying to the Copyright Office for registration of work under copyright laws in the prescribed form along with the necessary fee. Application for copyright registration must be made on “Form IV” along with the “Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars”. Along with the application, three copies of published work should be sent. 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.
Copyright application can be signed and submitted by the applicant or an Advocate in whose favour a vakalatnama or Power of Attorney has been executed by the Applicant. In case of application by an Advocate, the Power of Attorney signed by the applicant and accepted by the advocate should be enclosed with the application.
In case of registration of multiple works, separate applications should be made for registration of each work along with the requisite fee.
Benefits of Copyright Registration
The following are some of the important benefits of registering your work and availing copyright protection:
- Copyright protection creates a public record of the ownership by the copyright holder.
- Copyright protection enables the holder of the copyright to take legal action against infringers in a court.
- If the legal action is taken before or within a certain period from the date of publication, it enables adequate evidence in court relating to the validity of the copyright and the facts that are stated in the certificate of copyright.
- If registration is made within a short span of time the person’s work or at any time prior to the infringement of the copyrighted work, the copyright owner is permitted to claim statutory damages in a high court. Without the process registration, only an award related to actual damages and profits will be made available, and these can be quite complicated to prove in a court of law.
- Permits the copyright owner to record the registration with Indian Customs to help in protection against the importation of infringing copies into India.
- Copyright protection provides a very important motivation for the creation of several intellectual works. Devoid of copyright protection, it would be simple for others to take advantage of these works without paying any royalties or remuneration to the title-holder of the work. Copyright, therefore, encourages enterprise and enables an encouraging climate to motivate economic activity.
- Copyright protection renders benefits in the form of economic rights which entitles the creators to exercise control over the use of their literary and artistic material in various ways such as producing copies, performing in public, broadcasting, use online/on the internet, etc. and to avail an appropriate economic reward.
- Copyright protection enables creators to be rewarded for their originality and venture consequently.
- Copyright also enables moral rights to be identified as the creator or the author of definite kinds of material (known as the paternity right), and raise an objection to the distortion and mutilation of the right. An author’s right to object to the adaptation or derogatory action in relation to his or her work is referred to as an integrity right.
- Registration and entitlement to copyright will display the validity of your copyright if it is registered within a period of five years of publication. This can help avert future challenges to your works related rights.
- One can use, reuse and reproduce the copies and can sell the copies of the work that is copyrighted.
- One can deal in the imports or exports of whole or part of the work with copyright protection.
- One is liberated to create any derivative work from the copyrighted work.
- One can openly exhibit his work with copyright protection.
- One can sell or pass on the rights of the work to the other person with copyright protection.
- One can deal in transmitting or the display of work by radio or video with copyright protection.
Copyright Protection Validity
Generally, copyright protection is valid for 60 years. 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 organizations, the 60-year period is counted from the date of publication.
Remedy for Copyright Infringement
Copyright infringement of any work is a criminal offence punishable under Section 63 of the Copyright Act. The minimum punishment for an infringement of copyright is imprisonment for six months with a minimum fine of Rs.50,000/-. Also, in case a copyright infringement has happened or happening or likely to happen, any police officer, not below the rank of a sub-inspector, may, if he is satisfied, seize without a warrant, all copies of the work and all plates used for the purpose of making infringing copies of the work.
Lawful Use of Copyrighted Work Without Permission
The law under certain conditions allows the use of a registered work without the permission of the owner for research, study, criticism, review and news reporting, as well as the use of works in library and schools and in the legislatures. In order to protect the interests of users, some exemptions have been prescribed in respect of specific uses of works enjoying copyright. Some of the exemptions are the uses of the work,
- for research or private study, ii) for criticism or review,
- for reporting current events,
- in connection with judicial proceeding,
- for performance by an amateur club or society if the performance for a non-paying audience and
- the making of sound recordings of literary, dramatic or musical works under certain conditions.