The umbrella legislation relating to copyright is
. According to the Act, the term 'copyright' means the exclusive
right to do or authorise the doing of a 'work' or a substantial part of
it. The term 'work' used here means:-
- A literary work:- it includes computer
programmes,tables , compilations and computer databases.
- A dramatic work:- it includes any
piece of recitation, choreographic work or entertainment in dumb show,the
scenic arrangement or acting,whose form is fixed in writing or otherwise.
- A musical work:- it includes works
of music, any graphical notation of such work but does not include any
words or action intended to be sung,spoken or performed with the music.
- An artistic work:- it means a painting,a
sculpture,a drawing (including a diagram,map,chart or plan),an engraving
or a photograph,whether or not they possess artistic quality. It also
includes a work of architecture and any other work of artistic craftsmanship.
- A cinematographic film:- it means
any work of visual recording on any medium produced through a process
from which a moving image may be produced by any means.
- A sound recording:- it means recording
of sounds from which sounds may be produced regardless of the medium
by which sounds are produced.
Here, the 'Related rights or Neighbouring rights' are the
rights of performers (eg actors, singers and musicians), producers of
phonograms (sound recordings) and broadcasting organizations.
The Act is administered by the Department
of Higher Education in the Ministry
of Human Resource Development. A Copyright
Board is established under the Act. The Board is entrusted with the
task of adjudication of disputes pertaining to copyright registration,
assignment of copyright, grant of licences in respect of works withheld
from public, unpublished Indian works, production and publication of translations
and works for certain specified purposes. The Act, set up a Copyright
Office under the control of Registrar of Copyrights, for the registration
The main provisions of the Act are:-
- There shall be established for the purposes of this
Act an office to be called as the 'Copyright Office'. 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. Also, the Central Government shall constitute a 'Copyright
- There shall be kept at the Copyright Office a register
in the prescribed form to be called as the 'Register of Copyrights'
in which may be entered the names or titles of works and the names and
address of authors, publishers and owners of copyright and such other
particulars as may be prescribed.
- The author or publisher of, or the owner of or other
person interested in the copyright in any work may make an application
in the prescribed form accompanied by the prescribed fee to the Registrar
of Copyrights for entering particulars of the work in the Register of
- The register of Copyrights and indexes thereof kept
under this Act shall at all reasonable times be open to inspection,
and any person shall be entitled to take copies of, or make extracts
from, such register or indexes on payment of such fee and subject to
such conditions as may be prescribed.
- The Register of Copyright shall be prima facie evidence
of the particulars entered therein and documents purporting to be copies
of any entries therein, or extracts therefrom certified by the Registrar
of Copyrights and sealed with the seal of the Copyright Office shall
be admissible in evidence in all courts without further proof or production
of the original.
- Copyright shall subsist in any literary, dramatic, musical
or artistic work (other than a photograph) published within the lifetime
of the author until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year
next following year in which the author dies. Also, in the case of a
literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work (other than photograph),
which is published anonymously, copyright shall subsist until sixty
years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the years
in which the work is first published.
- 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. However, in the case of the assignment of copyright
in any future work, the assignment shall take effect only when the work
comes into existence.
- If at any time during the term of copyright in any Indian
work which has been published or performed in public, a complaint is
made to the Copyright Board that the owner of copyright in the work:-
(i) has refused to republish or allow the republication of the work
or has refused to allow the performance in public of the work, and by
reason of such refusal the work is withheld from the public; or (ii)
has refused to allow communication to the public by broadcast of such
work or in the case of a sound recording, the work recorded in such
sound recording, on terms which the complainant considers reasonable.
Then, the Copyright Board, after giving to the owner
of the copyright in the work reasonably opportunity of being heard and
after holding such inquiry, as it may deemed necessary, may, if it is
satisfied that the grounds for such refusal are not reasonable, direct
the Registrar of Copyrights to grant to the complainant a licence to
republish the work, perform the work in public or communicate the work
to the public by broadcast, as the case may be, subject to payment to
the owner of the copyright of such compensation and subject to such
other terms and conditions as the Copyright Board may determine, and
thereupon the Registrar of Copyrights shall grant the licence of the
complainant in accordance with the direction of the Copyright Board,
on payment of such fees, as may be prescribed.
The Central Government may, by order published in the
Official Gazette, direct that all or any provisions of this Act, shall
- To work first published in any territory outside
India to which the order related in like manner as if they were
first published within India;
- To unpublished works, or any class thereof, the
authors whereof were at the time of the making of the work, subjects
or citizens of a foreign country to which the order relates, in
like manner as if the authors were citizens of India;
- In respect of domicile in any territory outside
India to which the order relates in like manner as if such domicile
were in India;
- Tto any work of which the author was at the date
of the first publication thereof, or, in case where the author was
dead at the date, was at the time of his death, a subject or citizens
of foreign country to which the order relates in like manner as
if the author was a citizen of India at that date or time.
- Copyright in a work shall be deemed to be infringed:-
- When any person, without a licence granted by the
owner of the Copyright or the Registrar of Copyrights under this
Act or in contravention of the conditions of a licence so granted
or of any conditions imposed by a competent authority under this
Act:- (i) does anything, the exclusive right to do which is by this
Act conferred upon the owner of the copyright; or (ii) permits for
profit any place to be used for the communication of the work to
the public where such communication constitutes an infringement
of the copyright in the work, unless he was not aware and had no
reasonable ground for believing that such communication to the public
would be an infringement of copyright; or
- When any person:- (i) makes for sale on hire, or
sells or lets for hire, or by way of trade displays or offers for
sale or hire; or (ii) distributes either for the purposes of trade
or to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the
copyright; or (iii) by way of trade exhibits in public; or (iv)
imports into India, any infringing copies of the work.
- Every broadcasting organisation shall have a special
right to be known as 'broadcast reproduction right' in respect of its
broadcasts. The broadcast reproduction right shall subsist until twenty-five
years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year
in which the broadcast in made.
- Where any performer appears or engages in any performance,
he shall have a special right to be known as the 'performer's right'
in relation to such performance. The performer's right shall subsist
until twenty-five years from the beginning of the calendar year next
following the year in which the performance is made.
- No broadcast reproduction right or performer's
right shall be deemed to be infringed by:-
- The making of any sound recording or visual recording
for the private use of the person making such recording, or solely
for purposes of bona fide teaching or research; or
- The use, consistent with fair dealing, of excerpts
of a performance or of a broadcast in the reporting of current events
or for bona fide review, teaching or research; or
- Such other acts, with any necessary adaptations
and modifications, which do not constitute infringement of copyright
under the Act.
- Where any offence under this Act has been committed by
a company, every person who at the time the offence was committed was
in charge of, and was responsible to the company for, the conduct of
the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed
to be guilty of such offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against
and punished accordingly.