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What is a Copyright, and how does it work?

Creators of literary, dramatic, musical, and aesthetic works, as well as makers of cinematograph films and sound recordings, have a legal claim to copyright. In truth, it is a collection of rights that includes, among other things, the rights to reproduce, communicate to the public, alter, and translate the work.

Depending on the work, there may be minor differences in the composition of the rights. Copyright protects and rewards innovation by ensuring some minimal safeguards for writers' rights over their creations. Given that creativity is at the heart of progress, no civilized society can afford to ignore the imperative of fostering it.

Creativity is critical for economic and social advancement in a community. Copyright safeguards the work of writers, artists, designers, dramatists, musicians, architects, and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films, and computer software, while also promoting a creative atmosphere that inspires them to create more and motivates others to create. 

In January 1958, the Copyright Act of 1957 (the 'Act') came into effect. Since then, the Act has been amended five times: in 1983, 1984, 1992, 1994, 1999, and 2012. The Copyright Act of 1957 safeguards against the unlawful use of original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, as well as cinematograph films and sound recordings. Unlike patents, copyright protects expressions rather than ideas. As such, ideas, procedures, methods of operation, and mathematical concepts are not protected by copyright. 

The most significant is the Copyright (Amendment) Act of 2012

The primary reason for amending the Copyright Act, 1957 is to bring it into compliance with two WIPO internet treaties signed in 1996, namely the WIPO Copyright Treaty ("WCT") and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty ("WPPT"); to protect and address the Music and Film Industries' concerns; to address the concerns of the physically disabled and to protect the author's interests; to make incidental changes; to eliminate operational facilities; and to extend the term of the Copyright Act, 1957 

Copyright Office:

Section 9 of the Copyright Act requires for the establishment of an office to be called the Copyright Office for the purpose of the Act. The Copyright Office is to be under the immediate control of a Registrar of Copyrights to be appointed by the Central Government, who would act under the superintendence and directions of the Central Government. The Copyright Office is currently located at the following address: 
Boudhik Sampada Bhawan,
Plot No. 32, Sector 14, Dwarka,
New Delhi-110078

Registration Procedure: The registration procedure is as follows:

  1. The application for registration must be made on Form XIV (Including Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars) as prescribed in the first schedule to the Rules;
  2. Each work must have its own application;
  3. Each application must be accompanied by the requisite fee as prescribed in the second schedule to the Rules; and
  4. The applications must be signed by the applicant. If applicable, a Power of Attorney signed by the party and accepted by the advocate should be included.
  5. The fee can be paid by Demand Draft or Indian Postal Order made payable to "Registrar Of Copyrights Payable At New Delhi" or by E-payment.

Is it possible to register both published and unpublished works?

Copyright in works published prior to the 21st of January 1958, i.e. before the Copyright Act, 1957, may also be registered, as long as the works retain their copyright protection. Two copies of previously published or unpublished content may be included with the application.

If the work to be registered has never been published, a copy of the manuscript must accompany the application for affixing the Copyright Office's registration stamp. One identical duplicate, properly stamped, will be returned, while the other will be kept confidential and stored at the Copyright Office to the extent possible.

Additionally, the applicant may transmit excerpts from the unpublished work rather than the complete manuscript and request that the extracts be returned once they have been stamped with the Copyright Office's seal. When work is first registered as unpublished and thereafter published, the applicant may, for a fee, submit a Form XV request for modifications to the details included in the Register of Copyright. 

Why claim Copyright?

Originality is seen as "the core premise of copyright law" and "the bedrock principle of copyright." To be considered copyrightable, a work must have been created via the author's labor, skill, and judgment. Furthermore, such exertions on the author's part should not be trivial, and hence should not be limited to the mechanical function of copying another's work. Due to the quantitative nature of the degree of originality criterion, the variation must be substantial rather than minor.

A certificate of registration of copyright and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to disputes relating to ownership of copyright.


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