Copyright Registration

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Copyright Registration: Protect Your Creative Works

According to The Copyright Act, 1957, copyright is the legal right of the intellectual property original owner to control the use and distribution of his work. Therefore, copyright is the right given to original owners that helps them prevent unauthorised use of their work and forbids others from copying without permission.

Copyright thwarts deceitful endeavours to imitate, copy, or reproduce the copyrighted work in any form.

What is the Copyright Act?

Officially known as The Copyright Act, 1957, this act is the principal legislation that governs copyright law in India. It offers legal protection to producers, owners, and creators of original works, giving them legal and exclusive rights to their creations.

According to this act, owner rights protected include reproduction, distribution, performance, display, or licensing of original work. It also forbids others from doing the same without seeking permission within the legal framework.

Provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957

Some of the important provisions of The Copyright Act, 1957 include:

  1. Scope of Protection – The Copyright Act encompasses a wide array of creative works in its scope across fields such as music, art, drama, cinematographic films, sound recording and written works.
  1. Validity – In India, the standard validity of copyright protection is 60 years from the date of the creator's death for dramatic, literary, artistic and musical works. It is also valid for 60 years from the date of publication for cinematographic films and sound recordings.
  1. Exclusive Rights – Works protected under copyright gives owners the exclusive rights to decide whether or not to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display their work. This act also lets the original creators decide whether they’d authorize others to use their works in any one of the forms mentioned.
  1. Remedies against Infringement – The Copyright Act has clearly defined the scope of copyright infringement. It has also listed the remedies that original owners can avail themselves of in case of violations and copyright infringement, including initiating legal action and demanding penalties against infringers.
  1. Fair Use – This Act states all provisions for the fair use of copyrighted works. It has also listed how one can use copyrighted works for research, criticism, review or educational purposes upon seeking required permission from the original creator.
  1. Amendments – The Act has been amended many times in the past to accommodate more works under its purview. It has been done to align with international copyright treaties and conventions and to accommodate new technological developments.

What Work is Covered under the Copyright Act, 1957?

In India, owners, producers and creators can obtain copyright for their work in the following six categories:

  1. Artistic works – It includes a variety of items, including sculptures, drawings, paintings, performances, and other forms of artistic expression.
  2. Musical works – It includes a variety of items, including song lyrics, melodies, tunes, and musical notations.
  3. Cinematography films – It includes a variety of items from films and associated audiovisual projects.
  4. Sound recordings – It includes a variety of items, including audio recordings including, music, speeches, or any other form of sound-driven content.
  5. Literary works other than computer programs - It includes a variety of written works, including essays, articles, poems, novels, and similar works.
  6. Computer programs, tables, and compilations – It includes a variety of items from the digital world, including software, data tables, and compilations.

Importance of Copyright Registration in India

Copyright registration in India is especially important because The Copyright Act, 1957 not only safeguards the rights of original owners, producers and creators but also lists down provisions granting remedial measures for copyright infringement.

Therefore, copyright registration acts as a shield, which protects the copyright owners and facilitates them to take legal action against violations and demand compensation for damages incurred due to the unfair use of their original work.

While this act intends to preserve the original work, it also allows for the fair use of copyrighted works by obtaining permission for research, criticism and education. Therefore, it is fair to say that online copyright registration is an important step in not only protecting one's work but also allowing its fair use with good intentions for the benefit of the public.

Also, lawful permissions to use original creators' work gives them due recognition for their hard work and respects their rights, too.

Benefits of the Copyright Registration in India

Copyright registration is essential as it solidifies your legal ownership of the work. By registering your copyright, you gain control over the dissemination of your work to the public, reproduction rights, and any translations or adaptations of the creative content.

Copyright registration is a process to obtain legal rights over original work and, at the same, safeguard the work from unauthorised use and dissemination. Let us look at the reasons why Copyright registration in India is beneficial:

  1. Legal Ownership

Copyright registration helps creators establish legal ownership of their work by crediting their name to their work in official records. This authenticates legal recognition and proof of ownership.

  1. Distribution & Dissemination

Once the original owners have copyrighted their work, they become the decision-making authority over its distribution and dissemination in the public domain. This control helps prevent the unauthorised and unlawful use of their work.

  1. Reproduction Rights

The original creators have the right to decide about the reproduction of their work. It is illegal for anyone other than the original owner to copy or reproduce the work without seeking permission.

  1. Translations & Adaptations

Original owners are protected by copyright laws to authorize or prohibit others from translating their work into other languages or making adaptations based on the original content without permission.

Eligibility Criteria for Online Copyright Registration

The owners and creators must follow the rules and understand the conditions that must be adhered to apply for online copyright registration. These include:

  1. The work must be original and should reflect the creative abilities of the creator/owner.
  2. The creative work must exist in a tangible state.
  3. Artistic Works – Must be uploaded in pdf/jpg format
  4. Sound Recording Works – Must be uploaded in mp3 format
  5. Literary, Dramatic & Music Works – Must be uploaded in pdf format. The file size should not exceed 10 MB
  6. Software Works – Must be uploaded in pdf format. File size should not exceed 10 MB. The PDF should comprise at least the first ten and last ten pages of the source code, or the entire source code if under 20 pages. However, owners must ensure no part of the code is redacted or blocked-out to ensure clarity of content.
  7. Motion Pictures- Videos and films.

Any owner or creator whose work falls under the categories mentioned above is entitled to apply for copyright registration in India.

Documents Required for Copyright Registration in India

The applicants must submit the following documents while submitting an application for copyright registration in India. The list of documents needed is as follows:

  1. Applicant details – Name, address, nationality (in case of an author)
  2. Identity proof of the applicant – Aadhar card, PAN card
  3. Copies of published work – Two sets
  4. Language –The language in which the work is published
  5. Class, Title, & Work description – Refer to the guidelines for more clarity
  6. Date of Publications – Refer to the guidelines that describe published work
  7. No Objection Certificate – From Author, Copyright holders, Publisher
  8. Incorporation Certificate – If copyright concerns any business
  9. Demand Draft– If the application is being submitted offline
  10. Power of Attorney or Vakalatnama – If the application is filed by an advocate on behalf of the applicant

Note: Documents for different creators and owners will vary depending on their line and scope of work.

Procedure for Copyright Registration in India

The owners and creators must follow the procedure for copyright application with due diligence, from submitting the copyright application to offering work details, paying the fee, verification, etc. Let us take a step-by-step look at the entire procedure for copyright registration in India to be followed:

  1. File the Application – The owners must file the copyright registration application in FORM IV. The application must necessarily include all the particulars and a statement of the particulars, which is then submitted to the registrar. However, a separate application must be filed to obtain copyrights for different works.
  2. Pay the Application Fees – The applicants must pay the requisite fees along with their application as mentioned in Schedule 2 of The Copyright Act, 1957.
  3. Signature of the Applicant – The applicants must ensure that the application they file, irrespective of the number of applications, must be signed by the applicant. However, the application must also bear the signatures of an advocate in whose favour a POA or Vakalatnama has been executed.
  4. Waiting Time – Once the application is submitted, the registrar then issues a Diary No. Subsequently, the applicants must wait for a period of 30 days, which is mandatory as per the Act. This period allows people to raise objections to copyright claims.
  5. No Objection – Once the mandatory 30-day period is over and if no objections are received during this period, the application proceeds for further scrutiny, after which a scrutineer checks the application for any discrepancies.

In case no discrepancies are found, the application proceeds to the next stage, where it is accepted for registration. Post this, an extract is sent to the registrar to mark the entry of the application in the Register of Copyright.

  1. Objections Received (if any) – However, in case the application receives any objections, the examiner sends a letter informing both parties about the current status of the application. The objective is to ensure both parties get a fair hearing in the matter to sort out the issues.
  2. Approval or Rejection – Once the hearing in this matter is over, and if the objections are resolved, the scrutineer takes another step forward by scrutinizing the application basis, in which the decision to approve or reject the application is made.

Modes of Copyright Application in India

As per copyright law, applicants in India have two options to apply for copyright registration. These options include:

1. Online Copyright Application

Online copyright application can be submitted by following the below-mentioned process:

  1. Portal  Applicants can submit their application through the Copyright Office’s official website – https://copyright.gov.in
  2. Process – The applicants can fill out the requisite forms along with required documents and prescribed fees.
  3. Benefits – Online method is a very convenient method than offline. Besides, it helps complete the formalities in a much faster timeframe as it paves the way for easy tracking of the application status.

2. Offline Copyright Application

Offline copyright application can be submitted by following the below mentioned process:

  1. Submission – Applicants can submit the copyright application to the Corporate Office by presenting the application in physical form directly along with the required documents.
  2. Process – Applicant who wish to present their copyright application offline are required to fill Form XIV. They also need to ensure the attachment of appropriate documents, copies of the work, and the required demand draft for fee payment.
  3. Address – The applicants must ensure their application is sent to the Registrar of Copyrights at the Copyright Office in New Delhi.
  4. Benefits – The offline submission option is ideal for those applicants who find it more convenient to submit the application in physical form or are not comfortable with the online mode of submission.

Note: Irrespective of online or offline mode of submission, applicants must ensure the accuracy of documentation to ensure smooth processing of the copyright registration.

What is the Copyright Symbol?

After the original owners have received a copyright certificate, they are legally authorised to use the copyright symbol (©) to suggest that the particular work is protected by copyright laws. The copyright symbol indicates that third parties must refrain from using the copyrighted work with permission. It also notifies that anyone indulging in copyright infringement is liable for penalties under The Copyright Act, 1957.

What are the Legal Rights of a Copyright Owner?

A copyright owner is entitled to various benefits and legal rights. These legal rights authorize copyright owners to manage and protect their work while controlling their intellectual property.

Let us explore some of the most important benefits enjoyed by creators with copyrighted work, including:

  • Authorship – As an author, if your work is protected under the copyright law, you are lawfully entitled to claim authorship of all your published work.
  • Reproduction & Storage – The copyright law permits the original owner to reproduce their work in any material form. They can also store the same in any electronic medium as well.
  • Publication & Dissemination – The original owner has the right to decide if and how they can publish and disseminate their work in the public domain. They have full control over the publication rights.
  • Public Performance & Communication – The original owner has the right to decide how to perform or communicate their work to the public publicly. They may also choose to create translations or adaptations of the same.
  • Protecting Reputation – If the original owners fear some actions may cause a harm to their reputation or image, they can take necessary preventive actions to protect the same.
  • Selling & Transferring Rights– The original owners are entitled to sell or transfer the copyright, thereby giving a third person the rights to use, reproduce, or adapt their work in accordance with the specifics of the transfer agreement.

What is the Validity of Copyright?

Copyright comes with a fixed validity in India. Let us look at some of the important factors that determine the validity of copyright in the country:

  1. Literary, Dramatic, Musical, & Artistic Works – The copyright lasts for the lifetime of the author and continues to be valid 60 years after their death.
  2. Anonymous & Pseudonymous Works – The copyright lasts for 60 years from the date of publication.
  3. Cinematograph Films, Sound Recordings & Photographs – The copyright lasts for 60 years from the date of publication.

Penalties for Copyright Violations

In India, copyright violations and infringements are treated with utmost seriousness. The Copyright Act, 1957 has listed civil and criminal penalties for offenders. These include:

Civil Remedies

  1. Restrict or stop infringing activities
  2. Pay damages to the copyright owner for losses suffered due to the copyright violation
  3. Give details about the profits made from the infringement

Criminal penalties

  1. Imprisonment up to three years for indulging in wilful infringement
  2. Pay fine – Ranging from INR 50,000 to INR 2,00,000 for commercial infringement
  3. Seize and destroy unauthorised copies of copyrighted work

However, as per the copyright law, penalties for repeat offender may be increased to deter them from indulging in repeat violations and infringements through unauthorized use of copyrighted works.

Copyright vs Trademarks vs Patents

Given below is the table that throws light on the key areas along with basic points of differentiation between copyrights, trademarks, and patents-

Area

Copyright

Trademarks

Patents

Protection Scope

Creative Works

Brands/Logos

Inventions/Ideas

Duration of Protection

Lifetime + 60 Years

Renewed Indefinitely

Limited Time

Application Process

Simple Application

Registration Process

Complex Process

Nature of Rights

Exclusive Reproduction

Exclusive Brand Use

Exclusive Invention Use

Purpose

Protects Artistic Expression

Identifies Goods/Services

Protects Inventions/Processes