What is a Copyright?

Design:

A Design is for shape, configuration,pattern or composition of lines or colours applied to any article. This may be applied by any industrial process or means separately or by a combined process. Design does not include any mode or principle of construction or anything which is mere mechanical device.

Requisites for filling a Copyright:

The person applying for registration shall give notice of his application 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.If no objection to such registration is received by the Registrar of Copyrights within thirty days of the receipt of the application by him, he shall, if satisfied about the correctness of the particulars given in the application, enter such particulars in the Register of Copyrights.

If the Registrar of Copyrights receives any objections for such registration within the time specified, or, if he is not satisfied about the correctness of the particulars given in the application, he may, after holding such inquiry as he deems fit, enter such particulars of the work in the Register of Copyrights as he considers proper.

The Registrar of Copyrights shall, as soon as may be, send, wherever practicable, a copy of the entries made in the Register of Copyrights to the parties concerned.

If you are an author of an original work and worried sick about the scope of the protection of your favorite work then you should not miss this page! It talks about the scope of the copyright protection.
Copyright protection generally gives the owner of the copyright the exclusive right to do the following:

  • To reproduce the work
  • To prepare derivative works based upon the work
  • To distribute copies of the work to the public
  • To perform the work publicly
  • To display the copyrighted work publicly, and
  • In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

The owner may also authorize others to exercise these rights. The general rule is that copyrights last for 60 years. But there is a difference of start date between certain types of original works.
1. In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the 60-year period is counted from the year following the death of the author.
2. In the case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government and works of international organizations, the 60-year period is counted from the date of publication.
However, there are some very important limitations on the reach of copyright protections.
1. Doctrine of fair use is the most important of the copyright limitations. This allows others to use portions of copyrighted works for purposes such as reviews, commentary, news and scholarship.
2. Items which are not copyrightable, such as titles, names, common facts and ideas are not protected.
3. Some works are in the public domain and may be used by anyone. This includes works where the copyright has expired.

Q.1. Who can obtain a copyright?

Copyright protection exists from the time the work is created in fixed form and immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright. In the case of works made for hire, the employer and not the employee is considered to be the author.

The authors of a joint work are co-owners of the copyright, unless there is an agreement to the contrary. Copyright in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of the contribution.

Q.2. What is the scope of protection in the Copyright Act, 1957?

The Copyright Act, 1957 protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings from unauthorized uses. Unlike the case with patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the ideas. There is no copyright protection for ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such (Please see Article 9.2. of TRIPS).

Q.3. Does copyright apply to titles and names?

Copyright does not ordinarily protect titles by themselves or names, short word combinations, slogans, short phrases, methods, plots or factual information. Copyright does not protect ideas or concepts. To get the protection of copyright a work must be original.

Q.4. Is it necessary to register a work to claim copyright?

No. Acquisition of copyright is automatic and it does not require any formality. Copyright comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring copyright. However, certificate of registration of copyright and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to dispute relating to ownership of copyright.

Q.5. What is the procedure for registration of a work under the Copyright Act, 1957?

The procedure for registration is as follows:
a) Application for registration is to be made on Form IV (Including Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars) as prescribed in the first schedule to the Rules;
b) Separate applications should be made for registration of each work;
c) Each application should be accompanied by the requisite fee prescribed in the second schedule to the Rules; and
d) The applications should be signed by the applicant or the advocate in whose favor a Power of Attorney has been executed. The Power of Attorney signed by the party and accepted by the advocate should also be enclosed.
e) Each and every column of the Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars should be replied specifically.

Q.6. Can I transfer my copyright?

Any or all of the copyright owner's exclusive rights or any subdivision of those rights may be transferred, but the transfer of exclusive rights is not valid unless that transfer is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner's duly authorized agent. Transfer of a right on a nonexclusive basis does not require a written agreement.

A copyright may also be conveyed by operation of law and may be given through a will. Copyright is a personal property right, and it is subject to the various state laws and regulations that govern the ownership, inheritance, or transfer of personal property as well as terms of contracts or conduct of business. For information about relevant state laws, consult an attorney.

Q.7. Whether unpublished works are registered?

Yes, Both published and unpublished works can be registered. Copyright in works published before 21st January, 1958, i.e., before the Copyright Act, 1957 came in force, can also be registered, provided the works still enjoy copyright. Three copies of published work may be sent along with the application. If the work to be registered is unpublished, a copy of the manuscript has to be sent along with the application for affixing the stamp of the Copyright Office in proof of the work having been registered. In case two copies of the manuscript are sent, one copy of the same duly stamped will be returned, while the other will be retained, as far as possible, in the Copyright Office for record and will be kept confidential. It would also be open to the applicant to send only extracts from the unpublished work instead of the whole manuscript and ask for the return of the extracts after being stamped with the seal of the Copyright Office.

When a work has been registered as unpublished and subsequently it is published, the applicant may apply for changes in particulars entered in the Register of Copyright in Form V with prescribed fee.

The process of registration and fee for registration of copyright is same.

Q.8. Whether computer Software or Computer Programmer can be registered?

Yes. Computer Software or programmer can be registered as a 'literary work'. As per Section 2 (o) of the Copyright Act, 1957 "literary work" includes computer programmer, tables and compilations, including computer databases. 'Source Code' has also to be supplied along with the application for registration of copyright for software products.

9. How can I get copyright registration for my Web-site?

A web-site contains several works such as literary works, artistic works (photographs etc.), sound recordings, video clips, cinematograph films and broadcastings and computer software too. Therefore, a separate application has to be filed for registration of all these works.

Q.10. How long I have to wait to get my work to get registered by the Copyright office?

After you file your application and receive diary number you have to wait for a mandatory period of 30 days so that no objection is filed in the Copyright office against your claim that particular work is created by you. If such objection is filed it may take another one month time to decide as to whether the work could be registered by the Registrar of Copyrights after giving an opportunity of hearing the matter from both the parties.

If no objection is filed the application goes for scrutiny from the examiners. If any discrepancy is found the applicant is given 30 days time to remove the same. Therefore, it may take 2 to 3 month's time for registration of any work in the normal course. The cooperation of the applicant in providing necessary information is the key for speedy disposal the matter.

Q.11. Is an opportunity for hearing given in all the cases pertain to rejection of registration?

Yes. As per the Principles of Natural Justice' (i.e. Audi altrampaltram) no one can be punished without being heard. As per the rule 27 of the Copyright Rules, 1958 no application is rejected without giving an opportunity to be heard. The applicant himself or his/her pleader may appear in the hearing.

As per section 72 of the Copyright Act, 1957 any person aggrieved by the final decision or order of the Registrar of Copyrights may, within three months from the date of the order or decision, appeal to the Copyright Board.

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