/ Conditions for Grant of Copyright in India

Conditions for Grant of Copyright in India

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Manish Jindal

December 12, 2023


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Conditions for Grant of Copyright in India

Granting copyright protection in India is subject to certain conditions and requirements that must be met.

These conditions serve to establish the eligibility and validity of a copyright claim, ensuring that the rights of creators are safeguarded.

Understanding the conditions for the grant of copyright is essential for individuals and entities seeking to protect their creative works in India.

This article focuses on the topic “Conditions for Grant of Copyright in India.”

This article explores the key conditions and criteria set forth by Indian copyright law, including originality, fixation in a tangible medium, and compliance with the statutory formalities.

By delving into these conditions, creators can gain a comprehensive understanding of the necessary steps to secure copyright protection and assert their rights over their intellectual creations in India.

What is Copyright Protection?

Copyright protection is a legal entitlement given to the originators of creative works, including literature, art, music, drama, films, audio recordings, and software.

It grants the creators exclusive rights to control and use their creations and prevents others from copying, distributing, or exploiting their works without permission.

Copyright protection gives creators the right to reproduce their works, create derivative works based on them, distribute them to the public, display or perform them publicly, and financially benefit from their creations.

This protection incentivises creators to invest resources and effort into their works, fostering innovation and creativity.

Copyright protection varies from country to country but generally lasts for the lifetime of the individual author plus a specific duration after their death.

It allows creators to control the use of their works, protect their economic interests, and maintain their moral rights as original authors.

What are the Reasons for Registering Your Copyright?

Registration of copyright offers several important benefits and protections.

Here are some reasons why you should consider registering your copyright:

  1. Legal Evidence: Registration serves as legal evidence of your copyright ownership and authorship of the copyrighted work. In case of any disputes or infringement claims, it provides a strong record to support your rights.
  2. Public Notice: Registration puts the public on notice that your work is protected by copyright. It serves as a deterrent against unauthorised use and helps potential users identify the owner and seek permission for any desired use.
  3. Statutory Damages and Attorney’s Fees: If your copyright is registered before infringement occurs or within a certain timeframe after publication, you may be eligible to claim statutory damages and attorney’s fees in a legal action. This can be advantageous in pursuing legal remedies and recovering damages.
  4. Enforcement and Protection: Registration is a prerequisite for filing a lawsuit against copyright infringement. It empowers you with the ability to enforce your rights in court, seek injunctions, and pursue compensation for damages.
  5. International Protection: Copyright registration in your country can facilitate the process of obtaining protection in foreign jurisdictions under international copyright conventions and treaties.

While copyright protection exists automatically upon the creation of an original work, registering your copyright provides additional legal advantages and peace of mind, making it a valuable step for creators seeking to safeguard their creative works.

The Copyright Office is Authorised to Provide Copyright Registration for Which Kinds of Works?

The Copyright Office can grant copyright registration for a wide range of creative works.

Certain types of works that may be eligible for copyright protection are as follows:

  1. Literary Works: This category encompasses various forms of written works such as novels, poems, short stories, articles, essays, and computer code.
  2. Artistic Works: Artistic works include paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, illustrations, and architectural designs.
  3. Musical Works: This category covers compositions, including both vocal and instrumental music, as well as musical arrangements.
  4. Dramatic Works: This includes plays, scripts, screenplays, and other forms of dramatic writing.
  5. Computer software or programs
  6. Audiovisual Works: This category encompasses works that combine visual and audio elements, including cinematographic films, videos, documentaries, television shows, and multimedia presentations.
  7. Sound Recordings: Copyright protection can be granted for the recording of sound, such as songs, speeches, lectures, or other audio recordings.
  8. Architectural Works: Architectural designs, plans, and blueprints for buildings or structures can be eligible for copyright protection.

It’s important to note that these categories are not exhaustive, and copyright protection may extend to other types of creative works as well.

Each work is evaluated based on its originality, creativity, and expression to determine its eligibility for copyright registration.

What are the Conditions for Grant of Copyright in India?

In India, copyright protection is granted to creative works that meet certain conditions and requirements. The conditions for the grant of copyright in India include:

Tangible Form Requirement

Copyright protection is granted to works that are expressed in a tangible form.

For example, a book, a painting, a sculpture, or a recorded song are all considered to be fixed in some tangible medium of expression. However, ideas, concepts, or facts alone cannot be copyrighted.

Example: An author writes a novel and publishes it in printed form.

The tangible book containing the author’s creative expression and original story is eligible for copyright protection.

Originality Criteria

To be eligible for copyright protection, the work must be original.

It should originate from the author and should not be a copy or imitation of someone else’s work. It should display a minimum level of skill, labor, or creativity.

Example: A musician composes a unique piece of music by blending different melodies and incorporating original lyrics.

The original composition, which reflects the musician’s creativity, is eligible for copyright protection.

Creativity Standard

The work should exhibit a sufficient degree of creativity or originality. It should reflect the author’s intellectual effort and should not be a mere reproduction of existing material.

It should possess a unique expression or arrangement that distinguishes it from other works.

Example: A photographer captures a photograph of a landscape using unique angles, lighting, and composition.

The creative choices made by the photographer result in an original and distinct image that is eligible for copyright protection.

Miscellaneous Criteria

First Publication Requirement: To qualify for copyright protection, the original work should not have been published or made available to the public before.

Copyright is typically granted to works that are published for the first time.

Example: A poet writes a collection of poems and decides to publish them in a book. If the poems have not been previously published or shared publicly, they meet the first publication requirement for copyright protection.

Citizenship Requirement: For works created by authors who have passed away, the author must have been a citizen of India at the time of their death to be eligible for copyright protection.

This criterion ensures that the copyright protection benefits are extended to Indian authors.

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Example: A renowned Indian playwright, who was a citizen of India at the time of their demise, has left behind a collection of unpublished plays.

These plays are eligible for copyright protection in India.

Indian Publication Requirement: For publication in India, the author must hold Indian citizenship at the time of publication.

This requirement ensures that copyright protection is granted to Indian authors for works published within the country.

Example: An Indian photographer captures a series of stunning images and exhibits them in a gallery located in India.

Since the photographs are published in India and the photographer is an Indian citizen, the works meet the Indian publication requirement for copyright protection.

By satisfying these conditions, creators can secure legal protection for their works in India as per Indian Copyright Act.

It is advisable to consult with legal experts or the Copyright Office for precise guidance and to ensure compliance with the specific requirements and procedures for copyright registration.

Some Types of Works are Not Qualified for Copyright Safeguard

In addition to the categories mentioned earlier, copyright protection does not extend to certain intangible works.

These include:

  1. Ideas and Concepts: Copyright does not protect abstract ideas, concepts, or theories. It only protects the tangible expression of these ideas. For example, you cannot claim copyright on the concept of time travel or the idea of a love story.
  2. Systems and Methods: Copyright does not protect systems, methods, or processes. These may include scientific, mathematical, or business processes, algorithms, or formulas. However, specific expressions or software code implementing these methods may be eligible for copyright protection.
  3. Facts and Data: Copyright does not protect purely factual information or data. Facts, statistics, historical events, and other similar information are considered part of the public domain and cannot be exclusively claimed through copyright.
  4. Works without Originality or Creativity: Works that lack originality or are deemed too trivial or common may not be eligible for copyright registration. This includes simple lists, calendars, phone directories, or basic forms.
  5. Works in the Public Domain: Works that are in the public domain, meaning they are not protected by copyright, are not eligible for copyright registration. These include works whose copyright has expired, works dedicated to the public domain, or works that are not subject to copyright protection.
  6. Works that do not have a physical presence.


The conditions for the grant of copyright registration in India provide essential guidelines for creators and copyright owners to protect their works.

By meeting these requirements, individuals can secure legal recognition and enjoy the exclusive rights granted under copyright law.

The application for registration serves as a crucial step in safeguarding one’s intellectual property.

It ensures that the original expression of ideas is protected in a tangible form, granting the copyright owner the authority to control the use, reproduction, and distribution of their work.

Copyright registration not only benefits the individual rights of authors and creators but also contributes to the larger framework of intellectual property rights.

It promotes the growth of a vibrant creative industry, encourages innovation, and provides economic benefits by fostering a fair and competitive marketplace for digital content.

Moreover, copyright registration plays a significant role in addressing copyright violations and issues.

It establishes a legal framework for resolving disputes, encourages fair dealing, and promotes the responsible use of copyrighted materials.

In essesnce, the conditions for the grant of copyright registration in India establish the minimum safeguards necessary for the protection of copyright and ensure that the rights of creators and copyright owners are upheld.

By adhering to these requirements and seeking registration, individuals can fully leverage the benefits of copyright and contribute to the continued growth and development of the creative landscape.


What is copyright registration?

Copyright registration is the process of officially registering a creative work with the appropriate copyright office to secure legal protection and exclusive rights over the work.

How long does copyright protection last?

In India, copyright protection generally lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 60 years after their death.

Can I copyright my ideas?

No, copyright protects the expression of ideas rather than the ideas themselves.

Legal protection for ideas requires expression in a tangible material form, such as writing, artwork, or recorded music.

What is the distinction between copyright and trademark?

Copyright protects original creative works, while a trademark protects names, logos, or symbols used to distinguish goods or services in the marketplace.

Copyright focuses on artistic and literary works, while trademarks focus on branding and commercial identity.

How is copyright granted in India?

Copyright in India is granted automatically upon the creation of an original work. However, it is advisable to register your work with the Copyright Office of India for added protection and benefits.

What cannot be copyrighted in India?

In India, certain types of works are not eligible for copyright protection.

These include ideas, facts, news, names, slogans, titles, procedures, systems, and government works.

Additionally, works that lack originality or are in the public domain cannot be copyrighted.

What is the threshold of originality for copyright in India?

The threshold of originality in India requires that the work must possess a minimal degree of creativity and originality.

It should not be a mere reproduction of existing works, but should reflect the author’s independent effort and expression.

When can I use copyrighted material without permission in India?

In India, there are certain exceptions and limitations to copyright called “fair dealing” provisions.

These exceptions permit the utilisation of protected material without authorisation for specific intentions such as analysis, assessment, news coverage, investigation, education, and personal learning, as long as it is conducted in a reasonable and equitable manner.

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