Copyright, is a form of intellectual property law, protecting original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, cinematographic, photographic and sound recording works. Copyright protects the expression of ideas in a tangible form. Protection starts as soon as an idea is expressed on a tangible form. Tangible form includes anything that can be touched and perceived. Expression on electronic media is considered to be a tangible form of expression.

Copyright protects works of authorship and copyright grants the right to exclude others from copying, reproducing, etc, the expression of an idea. The protection afforded by a copyright doesn't extend to the the making or using of a product or process.


Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.

The exclusive right for doing the respective acts extends not only to the whole of the work but to any substantial part thereof or to any translation or adaptation, thereof, where applicable.

Copyright infringement?

The copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a
derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.

How Long does copyright protection endure?

The normal term of the copyright is fixed, to be the life of the author, (of the work) plus a period of 60 yrs after his death for literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, published within the lifetime of the author. In the case of a work of joint authorship ,the author who dies last plus a period of 60 yrs would be the term for such a copyright. Shorter terms are fixed for anonymous or pseudonymous works, cinematograph films, mechanical contrivances, photographs, etc.

How to secure a copyright?

Copyright is secured automatically upon creation. The author of the work is the owner of the copyright and only he is entitled to the rights attached to the copyright unless he assigns those rights or the copyright to another person or grants a license or has a compulsory license. A copyright can be registered at the copyright office and a register is maintained keeping a record of all the copyrights registered with the copyright office and copyright board.

Who is an author?

Under the copyright law, the creator of the original expression in a work is its author. The author is also the owner of copyright unless there is a written agreement by which the author assigns the copyright to another person or entity, such as a publisher. In cases of works made for hire, the employer or commissioning party is considered to be the author.

Author of a literary or a dramatic work, composer of a musical work, the artist of an artistic work, photographer of a photograph, the producer for a cinematograph film or sound recording and the creator of a computer generated artistic work are considered to be the authors under the copyright law.

What is a publication?

Publication means making a work available to the public by issue of copies or by communicating the work to the public.

Is there anything like International copyright protection

There is no such thing as an "international copyright" that will automatically protect an author's writings throughout the entire world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends, basically, on the national laws of that country. However, most countries do offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions, and these conditions have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions.

As India is a member of both the Berne convention and Universal copyright convention , accordingly Indian copyright owners can protect their copyright in almost any country in the world.


Copyright registration is not mandatory. Acquisition of copyright is automatic and it does not require any formality. However, certificate of registration of copyright and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to disputes relating to ownership of copyright.

The procedure for registration is as follows:

Application for registration is to be made on Form IV (Including Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars) as prescribed in the first schedule to the Rules ;
Separate applications should be made for registration of each work;
Each application should be accompanied by the requisite fee prescribed in the second schedule to the Rules; and

The applications should be signed by the applicant or the advocate in whose favour a Vakalatnama or Power of Attorney has been executed. The Power of Attorney signed by the party and accepted by the advocate should also be enclosed.
Both published and unpublished works can be registered. When a work has been registered as unpublished and subsequently it is published, the applicant may apply for changes in particulars entered in the Register of Copyright in Form V with prescribed fee.

Term of Copyright

The general rule is that copyright lasts for life + 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 organizations, the 60-year period is counted from the date of publication.

To prepare and file a Copyright Application in India, the following information/ documents are required:

- The Details of the Applicant
- For individuals and non-corporate entities,
- Name
- Address
- Citizenship
For corporate entities, the following additional information is required:
- Country of incorporation
- The nature of entity (e.g., private limited company, public listed company)

Documents Required
- Three Copies of the Work
- Application for Registration of Copyright along with Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars (Format Provided)
- Copyright Notice sent Under Certificate of Posting
- Power of Attorney (Authorizing to represent the Copyright Owner at Copyright Office)

If the work is a Computer programme, in addition to the above 3 Copies of the work in CD or Floppy Diskette must be provided.
Steps involved in getting copyright registration certificate

1. The application with complete details is filed
2. Thereafter, the application is examined and objections, if any, are raised.
3. The certificate is issued by the copyright office after the objections, if any, are removed to the satisfaction of the department.

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