When you are reading a book or any magazine published by an author you must have come across the term “All copyrights reserved”. You must be wondering what does this mean and what is this term is all about? Don’t You!
This blog article provides a brief overview of what copyright is, the rights of the owner of the copyright, how to register a copyright, and the importance of including a copyright notice on your work.
What is a Copyright? An Overview
Copyright is an individual’s exclusive right to reproduce, publish, or sell his or her original work of authorship. It is a form of intellectual protection of the property provided by the Indian Copyright Act, 1956.
You could be a very creative person where you put forth all your ideas and thoughts no matter who you are and where you are. It could be in form of publishing a book, a script written for a movie or a play or could be some exquisite artworks or paintings. It could also be writing a lyrics or composition of a song etc.
What happens when your original work is being copied by someone else without your knowledge? Don’t you think whatever efforts you have put in have gone down the drain? Therefore you need to have exclusive rights to safeguard your effortless work. This is where Copyright registration comes into the act. It gives an individual the complete authority of their works.
Copyright is an intellectual property conferred upon the owner for his/ her original works. Nobody has the right to copy the original works of the owner without his or her consent in writing. The owner has every right to sue if he/ she come to know that their work has been duplicated or violated. This right was initiated by the Indian Government under the Copyright Act, 1957 in order to protect the interest of the curators.
It is very vital to know that copyright law covers the form of material expression and not the actual concepts, ideas, or techniques involved in a particular work. This is the reason why work must be fixed in a tangible form in order to get copyright protection.
A Copyright’s Owners Rights
The primary objective of copyright law is to protect the precious time, effort, and the creativity of the original works produced by the owners. As such, the Copyright Act gives the copyright owners certain rights like;
- Reproduce the work
- Prepare other works based on the original work
- Distribute the copies of the work by means of sale, lease, or transfer of ownership.
- Publicly perform the work
- Display the work publicly
The owner of the copyright has exclusive rights to authorize other people to undertake any of the rights as mentioned above. The owner has the option and the ability to transfer his/ her exclusive rights to others as well. The Copyright office does not have forms for such transfers. Hence it is usually undertaken through a contract.
If an author or an artist creates a work for a company irrespective of what industry the creator is usually not the owner of the copyright. This is known as ‘work made for hire’ and it gives copyright ownership to the company or the individual who commissioned the work. A work made for hire situation can happen when an independent contractor is hired to create a particular work, or if the work is created by an employee while he/she is on the job. This can be justified by an example. If an employee working in a company writes an article or content for that particular company, the company becomes the copyright owner and not the actual writer.
Copyright Work protected in India
Under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 the term ‘work’ includes an artistic work that consists of a painting, a sculpture, drawing that includes a map, plan, diagram or a chart, an engraving, a photograph, dramatic works, literary works, music works that include sound recording, graphic notations, and cinematographic film.
The Indian Copyright Act, 1957 has brought the copyright law in India in line with the upbeat developments taking place in the IT sectors in order to keep pace with the global requirements.
In India, copyright registration is not mandatory. It is treated as mere recordal of a fact. The copyright registration does not confer or create any new right. It is nor a pre-requisite for initiating action against any infringement.
Need for Copyright Registration
The awareness of the Intellectual Property (IP) laws is pretty much low among the enforcement authorities in India. The fact is that most of the IP litigation is confined to metros and Tier II cities. Though the copyright registration is not mandatory in India it is advisable to register the same as the copyright registration certificate is accepted as a proof of ownership in courts and by police departments.
Breach of Copyright
The copyright law in India not only offers civil remedies by way of a permanent injunction for damages and destructions but also makes infringement of copyright punishable for the offences. It can be imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but may extend to three years with a fine which shall not be less than Rs. 50,000 but may extend up to Rs. 2, 00,000. For second and subsequent offences, the Copyright Act has provisions for exorbitant fines and stringent punishment.
The Indian Copyright Act, 1957 has vested all the power to the police officials to register the complaints and to act swiftly to arrest the accused. They also have the permission to search the premises of the accused and seize the infringing materials without any court intervention.
Copyright Protection Limits
As mentioned earlier in the blog that Copyright law covers only the particular form in which information has been revealed. This is termed as “form of material expression”. The law does not cover the actual ideas and facts contained in the copyright work. For instance, Amar Chithra Katha comic books are copyrighted, which means they cannot be reproduced and distributed for sale without the permission of the owner of the copyright. The copyright also prohibits anyone else from creating similar works involving the mythological characters present in the comic books. However, the copyright does not prohibit anyone from creating a work about a godly character in general.
Copyright Protection to Foreign Works
Copyright of works of foreign nationals, whose countries are the members of Convention countries to which India is also a member are safeguarded against any breach of their works in India through the International Copyright Order, 1999. The Indian courts are also been pro-active for the protection of copyright of international authors or owners. This includes software, motion pictures, and databases.
The Indian Government is also taking initiatives to curb piracy in the software industry, the music industry, and motion pictures.
Documents required for Copyright Registration
- The Title of the work
- Complete address of the author/ artist
- Power of Attorney
- 3 sample copies of work
The duration of the Copyright in the case of original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works is the lifetime of the author or the artist and 60 years counted from the year followed by the death of the author or the artist.
In the case of sound recordings, cinematograph films, renowned publications, and works of Government and international organizations are protected for a period of 60 years from the date of publication.
Your copyrighted work has value. But if you don’t protect it properly you could lose what you have worked so hard to create.
So what are you waiting for? If you have not Copyrighted your works then get it done at the earliest before it’s too late. TIME AND TIDE WAIT FOR NONE!