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Copyright Registration in India

Law Firm Copyright Act. of 1957
Short title, extent and commencement - This act may be called the Copyright Act, 1957 - (2) It extends to the whole of India -  It shall come into force on such date 1 as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

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2. Interpretation
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,

(a) adaptation means,

(i) in relation to a dramatic work, the conversion of the work into a non-dramatic work;

(ii) in relation to a literary work or an artistic work, the conversion of the work into a dramatic work by way of performance in public or otherwise;

(iii) in relation to a literary or dramatic work, any abridgement of the work or any version of the work in which the story or action in conveyed wholly or mainly by means of pictures in a form suitable for reproduction in a book, or in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical; 1[***]

(iv) in relation to a musical work, any arrangement or transcription of the work;2[and]

2[(v) in relation to any work, any use of such work involving its rearrangement or alteration;]

(b) 3[‘‘work of architecture’’] means any building or structure having as artistic character or design, or any model for such building or structure;
(c) artistic work means,

(i) a painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan), an engraving or a photograph, whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality;

(ii) a 4[work of architecture]; and

(iii) any other work of artistic craftsmanship;

(d) author’’ means,

(i) in relation to a literary or dramatic work, the author of the work;

(ii) in relation to a musical work, the composer;

(iii) in relation to an artistic work other than a photograph, the artist;

(iv) in relation to a photograph, the person taking the photograph;

5[(v) in relation to a cinematograph film or sound recording, the producer; and

(vi) in relation to any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, the person who causes the work to be created;]

6[(dd) broadcast means communication to the public

(i) by any means of wireless diffusion, whether in any one or more of the forms of signs, sounds or visual images; or

(ii) by wire,and includes a re-broadcast;]

(e)  calendar year means the year commencing on the 1st day of January;

7[(f) cinematograph film means any work of visual recording on any medium produced through a process from which a moving image may be produced by any means and includes a sound recording accompanying such visual recording and cinematograph shall be construed as including any work produced by any process analogous to cinematography including video films;]

8[(ff) communication to the public means making any work available for being seen or heard or otherwise enjoyed by the public directly or by any means of display or diffusion other than by issuing copies of such work regardless of whether any member of the public actually sees, hears or otherwise enjoys the work so made available.

3. Meaning of publication
1 Meaning of publication For the purposes of this Act, "publication" means making a work available to the public by issue of copies or by communicating the work to the public.

4. When work not deemed to be published or performed in public-
Except in relation to infringement of copyright, a work shall not be deemed to be published or performed in public, if published, or performed in public, without the licence of the owner of the copyright.

5. When work deemed to be first published in India-
For the purposes of this Act, a work published in India shall be deemed to be first published in India, notwithstanding that it has been published simultaneously in some other country, unless such other country provides a shorter term of copyright for such work, and a work shall be deemed to be published simultaneously in India and in another country does not exceed thirty days or such other period as the Central Government may, in relation to any specified country, determine.

6. Certain disputes to be decide by Copyright Board -

1Certain disputes to be decide by Copyright Board -If any question arises,-

(a) Whether a work has been published or as to the date on which a work was published for the purposes of Chapter V, or

(b) Whether the term of copyright for any work is shorter in any other country than that provided in respect of that work under this Act, it shall be referred to the Copyright Board constituted under Section 11 whose decision thereon shall be final:

Provided that if in the opinion of the Copyright Board, the issue of copies or communication to the public referred to in Section 3 was of an insignificant nature, it shall not be deemed to be publication for the purposes of that section.

7. Nationally of author were the making of unpublished work is extended over considerable period-
Where, in the case of an unpublished work the making of the work is extended over a considerable period, the author of the work shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be a citizen of, or domiciled in, that country of which he was a citizen or wherein he was domiciled during any substantial part of that period.

8. Domicile of corporations
For the purposes of this Act, a body corporate shall be deemed to be domiciled in India if it is incorporated under any law in force in India.

9. Copyright Office -
(1) There shall be established for the purposes of this Act on office to be called the Copyright Office.

(2) The Copyright Office shall be under the immediate control of the Registrar of Copyrights who shall act under the superintendence and direction of the Central Government.

(3) There shall be seal for the Copyright Office.

10. Registrar and Deputy Registrars of Copyrights -
(1) The Central Government shall appoint a Registrar of Copyrights and may appoint one or more Deputy Registrars of Copyrights.

(2) A Deputy Registrar of Copyrights shall discharge under the superintendence and direction of the Registrar of Copyrights such functions of the Registrar under this Act as the Registrar of Copyrights such functions of the Registrar under this Act as the Registrar may, from time to time, assign to him : and any reference in this Act to the Registrar of Copyrights shall include a reference to a Deputy Registrar of Copyrights when so discharging any such functions.

11. Copyright Board -
(1) As soon as may be after the commencement of this Act, the Central Government shall constitute a Board to be called the Copyright Board which shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two or more than 1[fourteen] other members.

(2) The Chairman and other members of the Copyright Board shall hold office for such period and on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed.

(3) The Chairman of the Copyright Board shall be a person who is, or has been, a Judge of 2[***] a High Court or is qualified for appointment as a Judge of High Court.

(4) The Registrar of Copyrights shall be the Secretary of the Copyright Board and shall perform such functions as may be prescribed.

12. Powers and procedure of Copyright Board-
(1) The Copyright Board shall, subject to any rules that may be under this Act, have power to regulate its own procedure, including the fixing of places and times of its sittings:

Provided that the Copyright Board shall ordinarily hear any proceeding instituted before it under this Act within the zone in which, at the time of the institution of the proceeding, the person instituting the proceeding actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally work for gain.

Explanation.-In this sub-section zone means a zone specified in section 15 of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 (37 of 1956).

(2) The Copyright Board may exercise and discharge its powers and functions through Benches constituted by the Chairman of the Copyright Board from amongst its members, each Bench consisting of not less than three members:

1[Provided that, if the Chairman is of opinion that any matter of importance is required to be heard by a larger Bench, he may refer the matter to a special Bench consisting of five members.]

(3) If there is a difference of opinion among the members of the Copyright Board or any Bench thereof in respect of any matter coming before it for decision under this Act, the opinion of the majority shall prevail:

2[Provided that where there is no such majority, the opinion of the Chairman shall prevail.]

(4) 3[The Chairman] may authorise any of its members to exercise any of the powers conferred on it by section 74 and any order made or act done in exercise of those powers by the member so authorised shall be deemed to be the order or act, as the case may be, of the Board.

(5) No member of the Copyright Board shall take part in any proceedings before the Board in respect of any matter in which he has a personal interest.

(6) No act done or proceeding taken by the Copyright Board under this Act shall be questioned on the ground merely of the existence of any vacancy in, or defect in the constitution of, the Board.

(7) The Copyright Board shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for the purposes of 4[sections 345 and 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)] and all proceedings before the Board shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860).

13. Works in which copyright subsists-
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section and the other provisions of this Act, copyright shall subsist throughout India in the following classes of works, that is to say,

(a) original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works;

(b) cinematograph films; and

(c) 1[sound recording].

(2) Copyright shall not subsist in any work specified in sub-section (1), other than a work to which the provisions of section 40 or section 41 apply, unless,

(i) in the case of a published work, the work is first published in India, or where the work is first published outside India, the author is at the date of such publication, or in a case where the author was dead at that date, was at the time of his death, a citizen of India;

(ii) in the case of an unpublished work other than 2[work of architecture], the author is at the date of the making of the work a citizen of India or domiciled in India; and

(iii) in the case of 2[work of architecture], the work is located in India.

Explanation.In the case of a work of joint authorship, the conditions conferring copyright specified in this sub-section shall be satisfied by all the authors of the work.

(3) Copyright shall not subsist

(a) in any cinematograph film if a substantial part of the film is an infringement of the copyright in any other work;

(b) in any 1[sound recording] made in respect of a literary, dramatic or musical work, if in making the 1[sound recording], copyright in such work has been infringed.

(4) The copyright in a cinematograph film or a 1[sound recording] shall not affect the separate copyright in any work in respect of which or a substantial part of which, the film, or, as the case may be, the 1[sound recording] is made.

(5) In the case of 2[work of architecture], copyright shall subsist only in the artistic character and design and shall not extend to processes or methods of construction.

14. Meaning of copyright-
1[14. Meaning of copyright.For the purposes of this Act, copyright means the exclusive right subject to the provisions of this Act, to do or authorise the doing of any of the following acts in respect of a work or any substantial part thereof, namely:

(a) in the case of a literary, dramatic or musical work, not being a computer programme,

(i) to reproduce the work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means;

(ii) to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation;

(iii) to perform the work in public, or communicate it to the public;

(iv) to make any cinematograph film or sound recording in respect of the work;

(v) to make any translation of the work;

(vi) to make any adaptation of the work;

(vii) to do, in relation to a translation or an adaptation of the work, any of the acts specified in relation to the work in sub-clauses (i) to (vi);

(b) in the case of a computer programme,

(i) to do any of the acts specified in clause (a);

2[(ii) to sell or give on commercial rental or offer for sale or for commercial rental any copy of the computer programme:

Provided that such commercial rental does not apply in respect of computer programmes where the programme itself is not the essential object of the rental.]

(c) in the case of an artistic work,

(i) to reproduce the work in any material form including depiction in three dimensions of a two dimensional work or in two dimensions of a three dimensional work;

(ii) to communicate the work to the public;

(iii) to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation;

(iv) to include the work in any cinematograph film;

(v) to make any adaptation of the work;

(vi) to do in relation to an adaptation of the work any of the acts specified in relation to the work in sub-clauses (i) to (iv);

(d) in the case of a cinematograph film,

(i) to make a copy of the film including a photograph of any image forming part thereof;

(ii) to sell or give on hire or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the film, regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions;

(iii) to communicate the film to the public;

(e) in the case of a sound recording,

(i) to make any other sound recording embodying it;

(ii) to sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the sound recording, regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions;

(iii) to communicate the sound recording to the public.

15. Special provision regarding copyright in designs registered or capable of being registered under the 1 [***] Designs Act, 1911. (1) Copyright shall not subsist under this Act in any design which is registered under the 1 [***] Designs Act, 1911 (2 of 1911)2.

(2) Copyright in any design, which is capable of being registered under the 1 [***] Designs Act, 1911 (2 of 1911)2 , but which has not been so registered, shall cease as soon as any article to which the design has been applied has been reproduced more than fifty times by an industrial process by the owner of the copyright, or, with his licence, by any other person.

16. No copyright except as provided in this Act-
No person shall be entitled to copyright or any similar right in any work, whether published or unpublished, otherwise than under and in accordance with the provisions of this Act or of any other law for the time being in force, but nothing in this section shall be construed as abrogating any right or jurisdiction to restrain a breach of trust or confidence.

17. First owner of copyright -
Subject to the provisions of this Act, the author of a work shall be the first owner of the copyright therein:

Provided that

(a) in the case of a literary, dramatic or artistic work made by the author in the course of his employment by the proprietor of a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical under a contract of service or apprenticeship, for the purpose of publication in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, the said proprietor shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright in the work in so far as the copyright relates to the publication of the work in any newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, or to the reproduction of the work for the purpose of its being so published, but in all other respects the author shall be the first owner of the copyright in the work;

(b) subject to the provisions of clause (a), in the case of a photograph taken, or a painting or portrait drawn, or an engraving or a cinematograph film made, for valuable consideration at the instance of any person, such person shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein;

(c) in the case of a work made in the course of the author's employment under a contract of service or apprenticeship, to which clause (a) or clause (b) does not apply, the employer shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein;

2[(cc) in the case of any address or speech delivered in public, the person who has delivered such address or speech or if such person has delivered such address or speech on behalf of any other person, such other person shall be the first owner of the copyright therein notwithstanding that the person who delivers such address or speech, or, as the case may be, the person on whose behalf such address or speech is delivered, is employed by any other person who arranges such address or speech or on whose behalf or premises such address or speech is delivered;]

(d) in the case of a Government work, Government shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein;

2[(dd) in the case of a work made or first published by or under the direction or control of any public undertaking, such public undertaking shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein.

18. Assignment of copyright -
(1) The owner of the copyright in an existing work or the prospective owner of the copyright in a future work may assign to any person the copyright either wholly or partially and either generally or subject to limitations and either for the whole term of the copyright or any part thereof.

Provided that in the case of the assignment of copyright in any future work, the assignment shall take effect only when the work comes into existence.
(2) Whereas the assignee of a copyright becomes entitled to any right comprised in the copyright, the assignee as respects the rights to assigned, and the assignor as respects the rights not assigned, shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as the owner of copyright and the provisions of this Act shall have effect accordingly.

(3) In this section, the expression, "assignee" as respects the assignment of the copyright in any future work includes the legal representatives of the assignee, if the assignee dies before the work comes into existence.

19. Mode of assignment
1 (1)] No assignment of the copyright in any work shall be valid unless it is in writing signed by the assignor or his duly authorised agent.

2 [3 (2)The assignment of copyright in nay work shall identify such work, and shall specify the rights assigned and the duration and territorial extent of such assignment.

(3) The assignment of copyright in any work shall also specify the amount of royalty payable, if any, to the author or his legal heirs during the currency of the assignment and the assignment shall be subject to revision, extension or termination on terms mutually agreed upon by the parties.

(4) Where the assignee does not exercise the rights assigned to him under any of the other sub sections of this section within a period of one year from the date of assignment, the assignment in respect of such rights shall be deemed to have lapsed after the expiry of the said period unless otherwise specified in the assignment.

(5) If the period of assignment is not stated, it shall be deemed to be five years from the date of assignment.

(6) If the territorial extent of assignment of the rights is not specified, it shall be presumed to extend within India.


19-A. Dispute with respect to assignment of copyright -
1[19A. Disputes with respect to assignment of copyright.(1) If an assignee fails to make sufficient exercise of the rights assigned to him, and such failure is not attributable to any act or omission of the assignor, then, the Copyright Board may, on receipt of a complaint from the assignor and after holding such inquiry as it may deem necessary, revoke such assignment.

(2) If any dispute arises with respect to the assignment of any copyright, the Copyright Board may, on receipt of a complaint from the aggrieved party and after holding such inquiry as it considers necessary, pass such order as it may deem fit including an order for the recovery of any royalty payable:

Provided that Copyright Board shall not pass any order under this sub-section to revoke the assignment unless it is satisfied that the terms of assignment are harsh to the assignor in case the assignor is also the author:

Provided further that no order of revocation of assignment under this sub-section, shall be made within a period of five years from the date of such assignment.]

(7) Nothing in sub section (2) or sub section (3) or sub section (4) or sub section (5) or sub section (6) shall be applicable to assignments made before the coming into force of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1994.]

20. Transmission of copyright in manuscript by testamentary disposition -
Where under a bequest a person is entitled to the manuscript of a literary, dramatic or musical work, or to an artistic work, and the work was not published before the death of the testator, the bequest shall, unless the contrary intention is indicated in the testator’s will or any codicil thereto, be construed as including the copyright in the work in so far as the testator was the owner of the copyright immediately before his death.

Explanation- In this section, the expression "manuscript" means the original document embodying the work, whether written by hand or not.

21. Right of author to relinquish copyright -
(1) The author of a work may relinquish all or any of the rights comprised in the copyright in the work by giving notice in the prescribed form to the Registrar of Copyrights and thereupon such rights shall, subject to the provision of sub section (3), cease to exist from the date of the notice.

(2) On receipt of a notice under sub section (1), the Registrar of Copyrights shall cause it to be published in the Official Gazette and in such other manner, as he may deem fit.

(3) The relinquishment of all or any of the rights comprised in the copyright in a work shall not affect any rights subsisting in favour of any person on the date of the notice referred to in sub section. (1).

22. Term of copyright in published literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works -
Except as otherwise hereinafter provided, copyright shall subsist in any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work (other than a photograph) published within the lifetime of the author until 1[sixty years] from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies.

23. Term of copyright in anonymous and pseudonymous works -
(1) In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work (other than a photograph), which is published anonymously or pseudonymously, copyright shall subsist until 1[sixty years] from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is first published:

Provided that where the identity of the author is disclosed before the expiry of the said period, copyright shall subsist until 1[sixty years] from the beginning of the calendar year following the year in which the author dies.

(2) In sub-section (1), references to the author shall, in the case of an anonymous work of joint authorship, be construed,

(a) where the identity of one of the authors is disclosed, as references to that author;

(b) where the identity of more authors than one is disclosed, as references to the author who dies last from amongst such authors.

(3) In sub-section (1), references to the author shall, in the case of a pseudonymous work of joint authorship, be construed,

(a) where the names of one or more (but not all) of the authors are pseudonymous and his or their identity is not disclosed, as references to the author whose name is not a pseudonym, or, if the names of two or more of the authors are not pseudonyms, as references to such of those authors who dies last;

(b) where the names of one or more (but not all) of the authors are pseudonyms and the identity of one or more of them is disclosed, as references to the author who dies last from amongst the authors whose names are not pseudonyms and the authors whose names are pseudonyms and are disclosed; and

(c) where the names of all the authors are pseudonyms and the identity of one of them is disclosed, as references to the author whose identity is disclosed or if the identity of two or more of such authors is disclosed, as references to such of those authors who dies last.

24. Term of copyright in posthumous works

(1) In the case of a literary, dramatic or musical work or an engraving, in which copyright subsists at the date of the death of the author, or in the case of any such work of joint authorship, at or immediately before the date of the death of the author who dies last, but which, or any adaptation of which, has not been published before that date, copyright shall subsist until 1[sixty years] from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is first published or, where an adaptation of the work is published in any earlier year, from the beginning of the calendar year next following that year.

(2) For the purposes of this section a literary, dramatic or musical work or an adaptation of any such work shall be deemed to have been published, if it has been performed in public or if any 2[sound recording] made in respect of the work have been sold to the public or have been offered for sale to the public.

25. Term of copyright in photographs
In the case of a photograph, copyright shall subsist until 1[sixty years] from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the photograph is published.

26. Term of copyright in cinematograph films-
In the case of a cinematograph film, copyright shall subsist until 1[sixty years] from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the film is published.

27. Term of copyright in sound recordings
27. Term of copyright in 2[sound recording].In the case a 2[sound recording] copyright shall subsist until 1[sixty years] from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the 2[sound recording] is published.

28. Term of copyright in Government works -
In the case of Government work, where Government is the first owner of the copyright therein, copyright shall subsist until 1[sixty years] from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the record is first published.

[28A. Term of copyright in works of public under

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