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How to Get a Copyright?

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Lokesh Pal

January 12, 2024

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How to Get a Copyright?

Do you know how to get a copyright? Copyright law can be a labyrinth to navigate, but it doesn’t have to be.

Whether you’re an experienced creator or just beginning to carve out your space in the creative world, knowing how to claim trademark on your work can prove invaluable.

Join us as we unpack the steps to claiming copyright, exploring the whys and hows, the ins and outs, and even the potential pitfalls.

From initial creation to formal registration, let’s empower you to protect your unique work and ensure your intellectual property rights are safeguarded.

Stay tuned, because we’re about to venture on a journey of understanding how to claim copyright.

A journey that’ll ensure your creative sparks are not just yours to enjoy, but yours to protect.

How to Get a Copyright and Claim it?

Claiming copyright is a crucial process to safeguard your original work, ensuring that your intellectual property is protected.

Here’s a simplified step-by-step guide to help you understand :

Create Original Work

Laws only protect original, creative expressions.

This includes literature, music, art, software, architectural design, and more.

The work must be tangible, meaning it must exist in physical form, even if only on a computer hard drive.

Understand Automatic Copyright

In many jurisdictions, including the United States, your work is automatically protected by Law the moment it’s created and fixed in a tangible form.

You don’t have to register or display a notice for this protection to take effect.

However, registering your copyright can offer additional legal benefits.

Create a  Notice

This notice usually includes the symbol ©, the year of first publication, and your name. For example: © 2023 John Doe.

Register Your Copyright (if applicable)

Registering your copyright provides a public record of your claim and may offer additional legal benefits.

The process involves completing an application, paying a fee, and sending in a copy of the work being registered.

Keep Records

Store all drafts, copies, receipts, and correspondences relating to your work.

If your copyright is ever challenged, these documents can serve as evidence of your original creation.

Enforce Your Copyright

Having copyright is one thing; enforcing it is another.

If you find someone infriting your copyright, you may need to issue a ‘cease and desist’ letter or take legal action.

How do you obtain a copyright in India

Fill in the Registration Form

Fill in the relevant form, such as FORM IV for literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic works, FORM V for cinematograph films, or FORM VI for sound recordings.

Attach Copies of the Work

You must submit two copies of the work along with the application. If the application is being made online, the copies need to be sent by post.

Pay the Required Fees

Pay the registration fee. The amount varies depending on the type of work.

Submit the Form

If submitting by post, send it to the Office of the Department of Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Wait for Scrutiny

Once the Office receives the application, it will scrutinise the application and may raise objections, if any.

Objections and Hearing

If there are no objections within a 30-day period, the copyright is deemed to be registered.

If objections are raised, a hearing will take place to resolve them.

Registration

After all objections, if any, are cleared, the Office will register the copyright and issue a registration certificate.

What are the Works Excluded in the Copyright?

Law provides protection for original, creative works expressed in a tangible form, but not all types of works are eligible for this protection.

The following are general categories of works that are typically not protected by copyright:

Ideas, Procedures, Methods, Systems

Copyright law does not protect abstract ideas, procedures, methods of operation, or systems.

However, a tangible expression of these ideas, such as a detailed written description or a programmed computer software, can be protected.

Facts

Law does not protect facts, no matter how time-consuming their collection was.

Anyone can use these facts to create a new work.

Titles, Names, Short Phrases, and Slogans

These are not substantial enough to merit protection on their own. However, they can be protected under trademark law.

Familiar Symbols or Designs

Commonplace signs or symbols, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring are not eligible for trademark.

Please note that laws can vary by country.

For example, in India, certain public records like laws, court or tribunal judgments, official documents, and any translation thereof are also excluded from protection.

Why Copyright is Essential to Protect the Content?

Copyright is an integral part of intellectual property law that grants creators control over their original work, allowing them to reap the benefits of their creativity and hard work.

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It plays an essential role in protecting content for several reasons:

Protects Against Theft

Law protects the original work of content creators from being used without their permission, essentially preventing others from stealing, reproducing, or profiting from it.

This ensures that no one can duplicate, distribute, or display the work without the creator’s consent.

Promotes Creativity and Innovation

Protection incentivises creators to innovate, write, compose, and create more, knowing their work will be protected and they will be rewarded for their efforts.

This encouragement fuels the continued growth and diversity of creative industries.

Provides Economic Rights

Copyright provides creators the exclusive right to profit from their work. They can sell, license, or otherwise monetize their creation.

This financial reward compensates them for their time, effort, and talent.

Moral Rights

In many jurisdictions, law also provides for “moral rights,” which allow creators to protect their reputation by ensuring that their work isn’t altered in a way they deem derogatory, and that they receive proper attribution when their work is used.

Legal Protection and Recourse

In case of infringement, having a registered copyright provides the creator with more robust legal protection and remedies.

For instance, it allows creators to sue for infringement and potentially recover monetary damages.

Legacy and Control

Law allows creators to control the future use of their work even after their death, maintaining their legacy and providing continued economic benefit for their heirs.

Statutory Damages of Copyright Infringement

In India, the  Act, 1957, as amended up until my last update in September 2021, governs the statutory damages for  infringement. Section 63B of the Act specifically deals with statutory damages.

The provision allows for the owner to choose to receive statutory damages instead of actual damages and lost profits.

The amount awarded can range between fifty thousand rupees (around 670 USD as of 2021 rates) and ten lakh rupees (around 13,400 USD as of 2021 rates) for each work infringed.

In addition to this, the owner may also be awarded the costs of the lawsuit, at the court’s discretion.

Like any legal provision, the specifics can vary based on the case, and the interpretation of the Act might change over time due to court judgments and legal precedents.

Please consult a legal professional or a expert to get the most current and precise information pertaining to statutory damages for  infringement in your specific context within India.

How to Complain Against  Infringement in India?

Consult an Attorney

Ideally, your first step should be consulting a lawyer specialising in intellectual property rights.


Cease and Desist Letter

This letter informs the person or organisation that they’re infringing on your copyright and asks them to stop the infringement voluntarily.

It also usually includes a request for proof of compliance.

Collect Evidence

If the infringement continues, gather all possible evidence of the alleged infringement.

This includes proof of your ownership, such as the copyright registration certificate, and evidence of the infringement, such as photographs, screenshots, or copies of the infringing material.

File a Police Complaint

Under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, 1957, infringement is a criminal offense in India.

You can lodge a First Information Report (FIR) at your local police station against the infringer. Be sure to include all relevant details and evidence.

File a Lawsuit

Your lawyer can assist you in preparing the legal documents, which will include your complaint and evidence of both your ownership and the infringement.

Seek Interim Injunction: While the lawsuit is pending, you can ask the court for an interim injunction.


Proceed with the Lawsuit

After the lawsuit is filed, the court process will begin, involving pleadings, discovery, trial, and eventually a verdict.


Conclusion

While copyright exists automatically upon creation of a work in a tangible form, formally registering your copyright provides additional legal advantages, including the ability to sue for infringement and the possibility of statutory damages.

Always remember to consult with a professional to understand the complexities of  law in your specific jurisdiction.


Frequently Asked Questions

What type of work can be copyrighted?

Original, creative works expressed in a tangible form can be copyrighted.

This includes literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, as well as films, sound recordings, architectural designs, and software code.

However, copyright doesn’t protect ideas, facts, procedures, methods, systems, titles, names, short phrases, or slogans.

How can I copyright my work?

In many jurisdictions, copyright protection arises automatically when a work is created and fixed in a tangible form.

However, for additional protection, you can formally register your copyright.

How long does protection last?

In general, for works created by an individual, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.

For works made for hire, the duration is typically 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

Do I need to put a copyright notice on my work?

While not required in many jurisdictions, it’s beneficial to place a notice on your work.

A typical notice includes the copyright symbol © or the word “Copyright,” the year of first publication, and the name of the owner.

What can I do if someone infringes my copyright?

Consulting with the experts will help you resolve your query as soon as possible.

You may start by sending a cease and desist letter.

If the infringement continues, you can file a lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop further infringement and potentially recover damages.

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