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WHAT IS COPYRIGHT?
Copyright is a statutory right afforded to the creators or authors of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. Copyright is a bundle of rights including, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. Copyright warrants protection of the rights of authors over their creations, thus protecting and rewarding originality and creativeness. By affording such pro-tection, it allows social and economic development as well as helps in the progression of society.
WHAT IS PROTECTED UNDER THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957?
The Copyright Act, 1957 protects the right of authors in the following works
Sound recordings from unauthorized uses.
It is important to note that computer programmes are protected under the Copyright Act and are treated as literary works. In addition to the rights applicable to a literary work, owner of the copyright in a computer programme enjoys rights to sell or give on hire or offer for sale or hire, regardless of whether such a copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasion.
Unlike patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the idea per se. There can be no copyright on an idea or a concept. It is also important to remember that copyright does not ordinarily protect titles or names, short word combinations, slogans, short phrases, methods, plots or any factual information. To get the protection of copyright a work must be original.
WHO IS THE AUTHOR/CREATOR OF THE WORK?
Ordinarily the creator is the first owner/author of copyright in a work.
- In the case of a literary or dramatic work the author, i.e., the person who creates the work.
- In the case of a musical work, the composer.
- In the case of a cinematograph film, the producer.
- In the case of a sound recording, the producer.
- In the case of a photograph, the photographer.
- In the case of a computer generated work, the person who causes the work to be created.
- however, in case of the author's employment under a contract of service, the employer is the first owner of the copyright unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
WHETHER OWNERSHIP OF A WORK CAN BE ASSIGNED/TRANSFERRED?
The owner of the copyright may assign to any person the copyright either wholly or partially and either generally or subject to limitations and either for the whole term of the copyright or any part thereof.
HOW A WORK CAN BE REGISTERED UNDER COPYRIGHT ACT?
The law does not mandates the registration of the copyright of a work. However, the regis-tration of a copyright and its entry in the Register of the Copyright is the prima facie proof of ownership of the copyright and can be used as an evidence in the infringement proceedings before the court of law.
WHAT IS TERM OF VALIDITY OF COPYRIGHT?
Copyright protection is afforded protected for a limited period of time and generally lasts for 60 years. For original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the 60-year period is con-sidered from the year following the death of the author. For cinematograph films, sound re-cordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publica-tions, works of government and works of international organisations, the 60-year period is considered from the date of publication.
WHETHER COPYRIGHT IS ALSO PROTECTED IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES?
The Copyright act protects the right of the owner only within the territories of India. However, India being the signatory member of International Conventions and member of those con-vention, the owners of the copyright in India can also enforce the right and secure protection of the Indian copyrighted works in foreign countries. Following are conventions /treaties /agreements which governs the rights of the Indian works in foreign countries.
- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic works.
- Universal Copyright Convention.
- Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorised Duplication of their Phonograms.
- Multilateral Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Copyright Royalties.
- Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.
- Accordingly, copyrights of works of the countries mentioned in the International Copyright Order, 1999 are protected in India, as if such works are Indian works.
WHAT ARE REMEDIES AGAINST COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT?
The infringement of a copyright in a work is a criminal offence under the provisions of the Copyright Act. A civil remedy is also provided under the copyright act and a owner of copy-right can initiates civil action against the infringer of copyright by way of filing law suit seeking remedies of injunctions, damages and rendition of accounts. The suit shall be filed before the District Court and before the High Courts of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai having original civil jurisdiction.
Infringement of a copyright is a cognizable offence and therefore any Police Officer not be-low the rank of sub inspector may registered an FIR and investigate the matter of infringe-ment of copyright upon his satisfaction. The Police officer has also been empowered under the Act to cause search and seizure of the infringing copies of the work and other incriminat-ing materials without warrant of the Court.