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COPYRIGHT LAWS IN INDIA:

WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT?

Copyright is an intellectual property law that has been granted to the makers of works such as computer programs, dramatic, musical, and other cinematographic work. It is intellectual property protection given to the original makers and authors of such work. Under section 13 of the Copyright Act 1957, this protection extends to works such as literary works, musical works, recordings, and cinematographic works.
Copyright laws vests exclusive rights in the hands of the owner as per section 14 of the Act and any such person who is duly licensed by the owner of the copyright. These rights include the right of adaptation, right of reproduction, right of publication, right to make translations, communication to the public, etc. Copyright protection is conferred upon all original musical, literary, artistic, cinematographic works, etc. The word original here means that the work has not been copied from any other place or source. The copyright protection commences the moment a work is created and the registration of the work is optional. However, registering the work does not grant any rights and is a prima facie proof of an entry in respect of the work in the Copyright Register maintained by the Registrar of Copyrights.

As per section 17 of the Copyright Act the author or the creator of the work is the first owner of the copyright. An exception to this is that the employer will become the owner of the copyright in circumstances where the employee creates any work in the scope and course of employment. Copyright registration is invaluable to a copyright holder who wishes to take civil or criminal action against the infringer. Registration formalities are simple and the paperwork is least. In case, the work has been created by a person other than an employee, it would be necessary to file with the application, a copy of the assignment deed.
One of the supreme advantages of copyright protection is that copyright protection is available in most of the countries across the world; however, the work is first published in India as India is a member of the Berne Convention. Protection is given to the works first published in India in respect of all countries that are member states to treaties and conventions to which India is a member. The Government of India has by the International Copyright Order, 1999, extended copyright protection to works first published outside India.

INDIAN PERSPECTIVE OF COPYRIGHT PROTECTION:

The Copyright Act of 1957 protects the author and the makers in the following two forms:

  • Economic rights of the author
  • And the moral rights of the author.

ECONOMIC RIGHTS:

The copyright protection extends to artistic, literary, musical, cinematographic, etc and the makers and the authors of these works enjoy protection under section 14 of the Copyright Act. The rights mainly include reproducing the work in any other material form, like storing it in some electronic device, issuing copies of the work for the public, making any translation or adaption of the work, performing the work in public, and communicating it. In case of a computer program, the author enjoys an additional right along with the aforesaid rights the right to sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire any copy of the computer program regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on any previous occasions. In the case of an artistic work, the author enjoys the right to reproduce it in any material form like a three-dimensional piece of art or issuing copies of the work to the public, or translating the work in the form of an adaption. In addition to these rights, the author of any sculptor, manuscript, recording, artistic work, or cinematographic work shall be entitled to have a right to share n the resale price of such original copy provided that the resale price exceeds rupees ten thousand.

MORAL RIGHTS:

Section 57 of the Act defines the two rights of the author, namely:

  • Right to paternity
  • And Right to integrity.

The right to paternity refers to the right of the author to claim his authorship and protect and prevent all the others from claiming his work.

The Right to integrity refers to the right of the author to protect his work from mutilation, distortion, and any other alterations to his work. The proviso to section 57(1) provides that the author shall not have any right to restrain or claim damages in respect of any adaptation of a computer program to which section 52 (1)(a) applies (i.e. reverse engineering of the same).

It must be noted that failure to display a work or to display it to the satisfaction of the author shall not be deemed to be an infringement of the rights conferred by this section. The legal representatives of the author may exercise the rights conferred upon an author of a work by section 57(1), other than the right to claim authorship of the work.

INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT:

Copyright infringement is referred to as the unauthorized use of someone else’s copyrighted work. Thus, it is the use of his work without his prior permission and thus there is an infringement of the rights of the author like the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work.

Copyright infringement is mentioned under section 51 of the Act. Copyright is deemed to be infringed if:

  • A person without taking any prior permission from the author does an act, the right of which lies only with the author of the work.
  • A person imports infringing copies of the work of the author.
  • A person without permission from the author reproduces his work to the public.
  • A person permits the place to be used for communication, selling, distribution, or exhibition of an infringing work unless he was not aware or has no reason to believe that such permission will result in the violation of copyright.

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