Overview of the Copyright Law in India

Copyright Act, 1957, has undergone several amendments from time to time to align itself with international copyright law. The copyright law protects original literary, artistic, dramatic, and musical works, cinematographic films, sound recordings as well as computer software. Some of the important features of the act include:

  1. Protection: Copyright come to exist in any original work as soon as it is fixed in some tangible form, such as written or typed on some paper, saved on the computer, audio or video recording and such other means. The fixation on such medium creates the copyright.
  2. Registration: For a work to enjoy protection under the Act, the work need not be registered. Registration is not mandatory and as soon as it is fixed in a tangible form the author enjoys copyright in the same. This means that the work is protected from the moment it is created.
  3. Exclusive Rights: Copyright holders have exclusive rights to reproduce, make copies, perform the work, distribute their work, to make translations of their work and in case of computer programs to also sell or g ice on commercial rent any copy of the computer program.
  4. Infringement: When a person, without license, does anything, the exclusive right of which has been given to the owner under this act, amounts to infringement. A person who permits, for profit, any place to be used for communication of the work to the public, where such communication constitutes infringement, is also guilty of infringement, unless he was unaware of the infringement. Making for sale or hire, sale or letting for hire, distributing for trade, importing into India, any infringing copy also amounts to infringement.
  5. Fair Use: The law permits for a limited use of the copyrighted material for certain purposes, such as, criticism, review, news reporting, education, research, so long as it does not harm the rights of the author. Making copies of computer programs for temporary protection does not amount to infringement.
  6. Moral Rights: Even after transferring the rights in any work to another, the creator of the work retains the moral right to protect the integrity of the work. These rights include the right to attribution, i.e., the right to be recognized as the author.
  7. Term of Copyright: In case of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, copyright subsists until 60 years from the beginning of the next calendar year of the death of the author. In case of photographs or sound recordings or cinematographic films, copyright subsists for 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year following the year of its publication.
  8. Enforcement: The law provides for criminal as well as civil remedies for infringement of copyright and one can also claim damages and injunctions against the infringer. In case of criminal remedies, the law provides for enhanced penalty for second and subsequent convictions.
  9. International Protection: India is a signatory to the Berne Convention that provides automatic copyright protection in all member countries.
  10. Using the Symbol ©: Use of the symbol is not mandatory but is used to indicate copyright ownership.

If you are confused or require any additional information you may visit our website www.rgajria.com for more information or contact us to talk to one of our experienced attorneys.

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