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An Overview Of Copyright

The term copyright is a combination of two words – copy and right. To be more accurate copyright simply means right to copy, wherein only the creator/owner or his authorized person has a right to reproduce the work. Therefore in simple words, it is a legal right which is in possession to the owner of Intellectual property is termed as copyright.

In the need to better understand the concept of copyright the elaboration of the term must be taken into consideration. With the assist of a significant intellectual or mental ability, when an individual creates a unique product then such product is viewed to be original. The unique creations such as following websites, computer software, musical lyrics, art, literature, novels, original architectural design, films, poetry, graphic designs, musical compositions, etc. Further, the copyright being a safeguard protects an original work from getting pirated or duplicated.

When any such work is exclusively created by the independent intellect of a creator or owner without any duplication of such work is called Original Work of Authorship (OWA). Anyone who is the original creator of any invented work has inherited right over it and can also prevent it from anyone else to use it or copy it or replicate it for their use.

The creator can voluntarily register themselves for the copyright of the invention if they wish too and want to have a secure end and further have an upper hand in the legal system. By registration, the creator can further file a suit against any individual or corporation for replicating his work.

Concept ideas such as discoveries, slogans, theories, brand names, logos, concepts, domain name and tiles are all excluded from the purview of copyright and falls under the category of trademarks and patents. The copyright needs to be written down in a physical form for any speech, idea, discovery etc.

This concept provides the creators and the artist legal remedy to work fearlessly and create original products, which are not subjected to replication by any other person.

Evolution Of Concept Of Copyright In India

Pre-independence
The evolution of copyright law in India can be traced back to the East India Company’s regime in 1847. During that time, the work conducted was not don automatically and the compulsory registration with the Home office was necessary to enforce the copyright. Earlier term of copyright extended to the lifetime of the owner in addition to the seven-years of post-mortem. In the year 1914 a new copyright legislation was passed in the nation with few modifications which are as mentioned:
  1. In the case of infringement of copyright introduction of criminal sanctions were added.
  2. It expanded the extent of the term copyright and modified it as a ‘sole right’ wherein the owner was provided with the right to reproduce, change, produce or publish a translation of work.
The legislation of 1914 continued till the arrival of new legislation in 1957 i.e. post-independence era.

Post-independence
In the year, 1957 a new Copyright law was enacted. Under the Act of 1957, the Act of 1914 was prevalent, which also was an extension of the British Copyright Act, 1911. Further in May 2012 the Parliament of India unanimously a bill was passed in both the houses named as Copyright Amendment Bill, 2012. This Bill focuses to bring Indian copyright laws at the international level and also complied with the World Intellectual Property Organisation treaties such as the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performance and Programme Treaty (WPPT). Hence, the main highlights of the 2012 Amendment bill are as mentioned:
  1. Amendments made in the right to artistic work such as cinematographic films and sound recordings.
  2. Amendments made by WCT and WPPT.
  3. Amendments made in the mode of a grant of license and assignments.
  4. Protection against internet piracy.

Copyright In Different Fields

  1. Copyright in Literary work Literary works is protected by copyright law as they are present in physical form. Literary works include anthologies, novels, books, magazines, newspapers, journals computer software and programmes, letters, e-mails, poetry, lyrics of songs, tables and compilations. Literary works are not only limited to the above-mentioned material but also an abstract, encyclopedia entries, dictionary meanings and individual poems are also protected under copyright laws.

    Duration of Copyright

    In a case of copyright-related to literary work both published as well as unpublished the creator/author owns the protection under copyright which extends to their lifetime in addition to 60 years after his demise.
     
  2. Copyright in dramatics

    Dramatics includes dance, mime covering screenplays, ballets, operas etc. Copyright in the field of dramatic protects the creators, composers, choreographers, dramatists, poets, author and other from duplication of their work.

    The different types of published and unpublished work may be submitted for registration under copyright law including pantomimes, treatments, plays, choreography and scripts prepared for radio, cinema and television. It may be with music or without music.

    In usual, dramatic scripts are intended to be performed involving spoken text, plot and direction of action etc. Therefore, it needs to be understood that all the dramatic work can’t be registered for copyright.

    A few dramatic works are an exception to it as mentioned:

    • Title or series of a programme.
    • Copyright safeguards dramatic expressions of a creator but not the general notion of work.
    • Present work/script can only be given protection under copyright and not the future scripts/ works.

      To get the copyright of a dramatic work, a copy of:
      1. Manuscript
      2. Printed copy
      3. Film recording
      4. Video recording
      5. Phonorecord

        All these are treated as a physical script. The registration of these work gets effected from the day from when all the above-mentioned material is submitted in the Copyright Office in the prescribed format.

  3. Copyright in Musical Work

    Musical work as the term suggests a work which consists of music and for the work to be musical it requires a mixture of graphical notations. However, it excludes any actions or words which are required to be sung/ spoken with the music.

    Composer

    The author of the musical work is called composer. A composer is a person who composes the music irrespective of the fact that the music is recorded in any of the suitable form of graphical notations or neither of them.

    Duration of copyright

    The copyright protects the musical work which extends to the lifetime of the author/owner in addition to the 60 years after the owner dies. Whatever, in case of joint authorship the same duration is counted after the death of the last owner.
     
  4. Copyright in cinematographic films

    Cinematographic films include many of activities as mentioned:
    • Any work of visual recording displayed on any source from which any moving object can be visualized.
    • Work involving sound recordings.

Stages of protection of cinematography under copyright law

Pre-production
Before any film is produced a large number of preparations is being done which included casting and crewing, shoot schedule, location, rehearsals, scripting, screenplay etc. and therefore it needs very stringent rules and a legal regulation such that nothing can be duplicated.

Post-production
Once the film is released it becomes the prime necessity to protect it from duplication.

Rights of the owner
  • Reproduction right
  • Distribution and rental rights
  • Synchronization rights
  • Derivative working rights
  • Broadcasting rights
  • Right of adaptation and translation
  • Display rights
Another interesting fact in this topic is related to piracy which is called as ‘copyleft’. The owner has the right to avoid it and sue the person who conducts the work of piracy.

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