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Indian Copyright Act 1957

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Manish Jindal

December 12, 2023

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Indian Copyright Act 1957

Do you know what is Indian copyright 1957? Across time and space, we have used this creativity to develop various forms of artistic, literary, musical, and dramatic works.

These intellectual properties are not only a reflection of our cultural richness but also a crucial driver of social and economic growth.

However, the protection of these invaluable intellectual assets demands a comprehensive legal framework.

This blog post will embark on a journey through the intricacies of the Indian Copyright Act 1957, dissecting its key principles, highlighting its pivotal role in Indian jurisprudence, and exploring its impact on creators and consumers alike.

Indian Copyright Act 1957

The Indian Copyright Act 1957 is a legislative act in India that governs the laws related to protection.

It was implemented to safeguard the rights of creators and promote creativity and innovation.

The Act serves as the backbone of intellectual property law in India, specifically relating to the protection of creative works including literature, music, drama, art, sound recordings, films, and software.

Under the Indian Act, the creators of original works enjoy exclusive rights over their creations.


The Act provides protection for the creators’ rights for the lifetime of the creator plus sixty years after their death.

This period ensures that the creator or their heirs can benefit from the work, and it also helps stimulate creativity and innovation.

How Many Clauses of Copyright are There?


Right to Reproduce: This is the right to produce copies or replicas of the work and to choose when, how, and where the work is reproduced.

Right to Distribute: This is the right to sell, lease, or rent copies of the work to the public. It also includes the right to import or export the work.

Right to Display the Work Publicly: This is the right to display the work in public, either directly or by means of a film, slide, or television image.

Right to Prepare Derivative Works: This is the right to modify the work to create a new work. A derivative work is a work based on or derived from one or more already existing works.

Right to Digitally Transmit Sound Recordings: This right applies to sound recordings and allows the holder to decide who may digitally transmit their work.

When was Copyright Act Enacted in India?

The Indian Act was first enacted in India on 4th June 1957.

It has since been amended several times to accommodate the changes in technology and international standards, with significant amendments made in 1983, 1994, 1999, and 2012.

In India is Copyright a Form of Intellectual Property?

Absolutely, in India, copyright is indeed recognised as a form of Intellectual Property (IP).

Intellectual Property refers to creations of the mind such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names, and images used in commerce.

Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds, providing the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period.

.Other forms of Intellectual Property Rights in India include patents (for inventions), trademarks (for brand identity of goods or services), design rights (for visual design of objects), and Geographical Indications (for goods originating from a specific geographic region).

Protection typically lasts for the lifetime of the creator plus sixty years after their death, providing ample opportunity for the creators or their heirs to benefit from the work.H

History of Copyright Law in India

This law remained in force until the Indian Copyright Act of 1957 was enacted after India’s independence.

The genesis of the modern Indian  Act lies in the post-independence era when India sought to construct a national legal framework that would foster creativity and protect the rights of creators.

The Copyright Act of 1957 was enacted based on the recommendations of the Law Review Committee formed by the Government of India in 1955.

The Indian Act of 1957 provided a comprehensive law for the  protection of literature, drama, music, and artistic works in India.

The 1983 amendment was significant as it extended the protection to include computer software.

The 1994 amendment harmonised the Act with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.

The 1999 amendment synchronised the law with the developments in satellite broadcasting, computer software, and digital technology.

The latest amendment in 2012 brought sweeping changes to the Act, particularly in the digital environment.

Fundamentals of Copyright Law


Nature of Copyright

Copyright is a form of intellectual property that provides exclusive rights to creators over their original works.

These works can be literary, artistic, musical, dramatic, or software, among others.

Originality

To qualify for  protection, a work must be original and display some degree of creativity.


Fixation

A work must be “fixed in a tangible medium of expression” to qualify for protection.


Duration


In many jurisdictions, including India, it typically lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 60 years after the author’s death.

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Rights of the Copyright Holder

The  holder has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, or license the work. They also have the right to produce or allow the production of derivative works.


Registration

While protection is often automatic upon creation and fixation of a work, registering the  with the relevant governmental authority can provide additional legal benefits and is required for certain kinds of legal actions.


Notes on Copyright Law in India

Nature and Scope of Copyright Law in India: The Indian Copyright Act 1957 protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, cinematographs films, and sound recordings.

Originality and Fixation: A work is protected by copyright if it is original and has been fixed in any tangible medium of expression. This encompasses both published and unpublished works.

Duration of Copyright: In India, the duration of protection typically lasts for the lifetime of the author plus sixty years after the author’s death.

For anonymous and pseudonymous works, cinematograph films, photographs, posthumous publications, sound recordings, works of government, public undertakings, and international organisations, the term of protection is 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is published.

Rights Granted: Copyright holders in India are granted the exclusive right to reproduce the work, issue copies, perform the work in public, make translations or adaptations, and sell or give on hire any copy of the work.

Assignment and Licensing: Copyrights can be transferred or licensed to others by the  holder through an agreement in writing.

Infringement and Remedies: Unauthorised use of a copyrighted work that violates the exclusive rights of the copyright owner constitutes  infringement.

Remedies for  infringement in India can include injunctions, damages, and account of profits, as well as seizure of infringing copies.

Fair Dealing: Indian Copyright law allows for ‘fair dealing’ of a copyrighted work for the purpose of private use, research, criticism or review, reporting of current events, and in connection with a judicial proceeding.

Registration: Copyright in India is automatic and it exists as soon as a work is created.

However, registration of copyright serves as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to dispute relating to ownership of copyright.


What are the Consequences of Violating Copyright Law in India?

Copyright violation of  law in India, referred to as infringement of copyright, carries serious legal consequences.

The Indian Copyright Act 1957 has outlined stringent provisions for violations. Here are the main consequences:

Civil Remedies

The copyright owner can bring civil proceedings against the infringer.

The remedies in a civil action include injunctions (both temporary and permanent), damages for the losses suffered due to the infringement, and account of profits which the infringer has made due to the illegal use of the copyrighted material.

The court may also order the delivery-up of infringing copies for destruction.

Criminal Penalties

Infringement in India is a cognizable offense, meaning the police can arrest without a warrant.

Search and Seizure

Upon the complaint of the owner of copyright, a magistrate may grant a search warrant for searching the place where infringing copies of the work are believed to be found.

And such copies along with plates used for the purpose of making infringing copies may be seized and produced before a magistrate.

Disposal of Infringing Copies

All infringing copies or all plates used for making infringing copies found in the possession of the person convicted shall be destroyed, as the court may direct.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Indian Copyright Act 1957 plays a vital role in safeguarding the interests of creators, stimulating creativity and innovation.

The Act, which aligns with international conventions, provides extensive protection for various forms of creative expressions, securing the rights of authors, artists, producers, and performers, and ensuring that their intellectual labor is respected and rewarded.

With provisions for fair dealing and several important amendments over the years, it effectively balances the interests of the owners and the public.

However, with the rapidly changing digital landscape, it remains crucial for the Act to continually evolve, addressing the new challenges that come with technological advancements.

Therefore, while the Indian Copyright Act 1957 provides a robust framework for  protection in India, its success ultimately relies on its ability to adapt and cater to the ever-changing dynamics of the creative and technological world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the duration of copyright under the Indian Copyright Act 1957?

Generally, the term of copyright in India lasts for the life of the author plus 60 years.

For example, for literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 60 years.

For cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, government works, works of international organisations, and anonymous and pseudonymous publications, the term of protection is 60 years from the year following the year in which the work was published.

What rights does a holder have under the Indian Copyright Act 1957?

The holder has exclusive rights to reproduce, issue copies, perform the work in public, make translations or adaptations, and sell or give on hire any copy of the work.

They also have the right to produce or allow the production of derivative works.

Is registration necessary for protection in India?

Protection in India is automatic and exists as soon as a work is created and fixed in a tangible form.

Registration of copyright is not mandatory but it serves as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to disputes relating to ownership of copyright.
 

What are the penalties for copyright infringement in India?

Infringement in India can lead to serious consequences, including civil remedies such as injunctions, damages, and account of profits.

Repeat offenders face more severe penalties.
 

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