The copyright law in India is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 (as amended in 2012) along with the Copyright Rules, 2013. The first copyright law in India was the Indian Copyright Act, 1914.
Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of intellectual property in the form of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. As soon as such work is created, copyright comes into existence and no formality is required to acquire it.
Some of the rights which creators of intellectual property enjoy include the right to reproduce their work; communicate their work to the public, adaptation as well as translation of their work, etc.
Any individual who is the author or rightful owner or his/her assignee can file an application for the registration of copyright.
Copyright registration is not mandatory however, in case of dispute related to ownership of copyright, the certificate of copyright serves as a prima facie evidence in a court of law. Thus, it is advisable to apply for registration of copyright.
There are exemptions to copyright infringement, such as, when copyright is used for the purpose of research, criticism or review, in connection with judicial review, for teaching in a classroom, etc.
The registration fee for copyright varies from case to case.
Information required at the time of filing for registration of copyright includes full name, address and nationality of the applicant(s) and that of author, nature of applicant’s interest in the copyright i.e. OWNER / LICENSEE etc., title of the work, declaration signed by the author (if different from the applicant), language of the work, whether the work is published or unpublished, if the work is published, year and country of first publication and name, address and nationality of the publisher, year and countries of subsequent publications, if any, name, address and nationality of any other person authorized to assign or license the rights in the copyright, power of attorney for the firm, six hard copies of the work and three soft copies, (For computer programs) – 3 copies of the program on CD ROMs.
File an application along with the fee in the form of a demand draft, postal order or online payment in Form-XIV after which diary number will be allotted.
The applicant is required to send by registered post copies of Form (XIV), Statement of Particulars & Statement of further particulars to every person who claims or has any interest in the subject matter of the copyright or disputes the rights of the applicant to it.
The applicant has to wait for 30 days for objections. If an objection is filed during that period then a letter is sent to both the parties. After a requisite reply from the parties, the registrar may conduct a hearing. If the application is still rejected then a rejection letter is sent to the applicant. However, if no objection is filed within the said period, the application is then formally examined and discrepancies in the application found by the examiner, if any, are raised, or any extra documents are requested by issuing a discrepancy letter to the applicant. Response to the discrepancy letter has to be filed by the applicant within 30 days.
After all the formalities are done, the Copyright registration certificate is issued.
The term of registration of copyright varies and the general rule is that the copyright lasts for 60 years. In the case of Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, 60 year period commences from the date of the death of the author. However, in the case of cinematographic films, sound records, photographs, posthumous publications, works of government and international agencies, 60 year period commences from the date of publication.