What is the scope of protection in the Copyright Act,1957 ?

Comment: The Copyright Act, 1957 protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings from unauthorized uses. Unlike the case with patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the ideas. There is no copyright in an idea.

  • The object of copyright law is to encourage authors, composers and artists to create original works by rewarding them with the exclusive right for a specified period to reproduce the works for publishing and selling them to public.

Whose rights are protected by copyright?

Comment: Copyright protects the rights of authors, i.e., creators of intellectual property in the form of literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings.

Who is the first owner of copyright in a work?

Comment: Ordinarily the author is the first owner of copyright in a work.

Who is an author?

Comment: 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.

Is copyright assignable?

Comment: Yes. The owner of the copyright in an existing work or the prospective owner of the copyright in a future work 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.

What is the mode of assigning copyright?

Comment: It shall be in writing signed by the assignor or by his duly authorised agent. It shall identify the specific works and specify the rights assigned and the duration and territorial extent of such assignment. It shall also specify the amount of royalty payable, if any, to the author or his legal heirs during the currency of the assignment and the assignment shall be subject to revision, extension or termination on terms mutually agreed upon by the parties.

Does an assignment lapse automatically?

Comment: Where the assignee does not exercise the rights assigned to him within a period of one year from the date of assignment, the assignment in respect of such rights shall be deemed to have lapsed after the expiry of the said period unless otherwise specified in the assignment.

Are computer programmes protected under Copyright Act?

Comment: Yes. Computer programmes are protected under the Copyright Act. They are treated as literary works.

Are there any special rights in computer programmes?

Comment: Yes. In addition to all the rights applicable to a literary work, owner of the copyright in a computer programme enjoys the 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.

What is the term of protection of copyright?

Comment: The general rule is that copyright lasts for 60 years. In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the 60-year period is counted from the year following the death of the author. In the case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government and works of international organisations, the 60-year period is counted from the date of publication.

Can a license under Copyright be given?

Comment: Yes. Copyright licenses can be given which authorize another to copy the work in question, usually in return for a royalty fee.

Is it compulsory for a work to be published to receive copyright protection? Would I have to register my work with Copyright Office to get copyright protection?

Comment: Copyright applies to both published and unpublished works. Further, it is not necessary under the Indian Copyright Act to register with the Copyright Office to get copyright protection. Registration of the work is however a highly recommended because such registration is helpful in an infringement suit. As per the Copyright Act, the Register of copyrights (where the details of the work are entered on registration) is prima facie evidence of the particulars entered therein. The documents purporting to be copies of any entries therein, or extracts from the Register which are certified by the Registrar of copyrights and sealed with the seal of the Copyright Office, are admissible as evidence in all courts without proof or production of the original.