What is Copyright?

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“Creating something new with your thoughts requires the efforts and talent, and that credit of creating something different and new must be protected for the time being in favour of the creator to ripe the benefits out of it.”

Copyright is the power in the hands of the creators who give their consistent efforts and valuable time to develop something new for society. It is not a monopoly; it is a reward for their work, which requires applause in the form of rights and advantages.

According to WIPO, it is the legal right that creators have over their works ranging from literary to artistic works. It includes books, music, paintings, computer programs, films, technical drawings, and many more.

It is the “right to copy”. It means that the exclusive right to reproduce the creations or works is in the hands of the original creators or anyone they give authorization by licensing them.

It gives the original creators the exclusive right to use further and duplicate the creations for a specified period. Once this specified period of exclusive privilege gets over, the creations come into the public domain.



Section 14 of the Copyright Act, 1957, provides a bundle of rights to the copyright owner. These rights include the right to reproduction, the right to publications, the right to translate, etc. The exclusive rights over these rights are given to the owner or any other person to whom the owner duly licenses.

Section 13 of the Act confers protection on literary works, musical works, artistic works, dramatic works, cinematographic films, and sound recordings.

The ultimate condition required for protection is that the work should be original; it should not be copied from anywhere. This protection begins on the work the moment it is created. Registering the work or creation is not mandatory for protection; it is optional. Still, it is advisable to register the work as it works as prima-facie proof of the work existed in the name of the creator in the Copyright Register.

Though the registration does not confer any right as it is always there on the work since it is created, it gives you an advantage in the Court of Law in infringement.


The Registration Process of Copyright in India is provided under Chapter-X of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and Rule 70 of the Copyright Rules 2013.

The registration requires a set of procedures to follow:-

Filing an Application:-The owner of the work or creation files an application either physically in the office or by using the online medium through the e-filing facility provided on the official website. Every work requires a separate application to be filed with the Registrar attaching its particulars.

The requisite fees are also to be given with this. The number of fees differs with types of works ( The application fee for an artistic work to be registered is INR 500, whereas for getting the cinematographic film copyrighted, one requires to pay the fee of INR 5000). The application must be filed with all the required documents.

After the filing of the application, the Registrar will allot a Diary Number to the applicant.

  1. Examination

After the Diary Number is allotted to the application, there is a mandatory waiting period of 30 days. This time frame is given to check that no objection is filed in the Office against the applicant’s claim and that the particular work is created by the applicant only. In this waiting period, objections can be raised, and the Copyright Office reviews the application.

  •  In the scenario, when there is no objection raised, the authority then passes the application for scrutiny to find any discrepancy.
  • If all the required documents and information are provided, and the scrutinizer fails to find any discrepancy in the application, the application will be forwarded for registration.
  •  In case of discrepancies are found, a letter of discrepancy will be sent to the applicant. A reply will be sought by the Office and based on that, the Registrar will conduct a hearing. If the discrepancy resolves, the application will be forwarded for the registration process.
  • In the scenario where the objections are raised against the claim, letters will be sent to both the parties and then a hearing will be conducted before the Registrar.
  •  If the objection gets rejected upon hearing, the application is sent to the scrutinizer, and a further process will occur.
  •  In case the objection stays valid or the clarification sought is not presented during the hearing and the discrepancy does not get resolved, the application will get rejected, and a rejection letter will be sent to the applicant then, which in turn ends the registration procedure.


This is the ultimate process. In this step, there could be a possibility of asking for more documents by the Registrar to make himself more satisfied and clear about the work being registered under the Copyright. Once the Registrar is completely satisfied with the applicant’s claim, he will enter the details of the Copyright into the register and issue a certificate of registration to the applicant.

The registration process is complete when the applicant is allotted the extract of the Register of the Copyright.


There is the requirement of documents for the registration of Copyright as per the works being registered. Different types of creations or works have some special requirements for documents. However, we are here discussing the essential documents which are required in the registration process of almost all types of work:-

1. If the work is published, three copies of the work are required to be submitted.

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2. If the work is not published, two copies of the manuscripts of the work ;

3. Vaklatnama must be produced and signed by the party and the attorney if the attorney files the application.

4. If the applicant is not the original creator of the work, the due authorization for work is required;

5. The information related to the language and the title of the work.

6. The name, address, and nationality of the applicant

7. Mobile number and email id of the application.

8. If the applicant is not the original creator of the work, a document containing the original creator’s name, address, and nationality.

9. If the original creator is dead, the document related to his death;

10. If the work is required for use on a product, a NOC (No-Objection Certificate) from the Trademark Office is required;

11. If the applicant is not the original creator, a NOC is required from the original creator;

12. If the photograph of a person is there at work, a NOC from that person is also required;

13. The year of Publication and address of the first Publication is also required in the case of the work already published;

14. If the Copyright is for the Software, source code and object code must be submitted.


It is a well-known fact that copyright registration is not mandatory. It is optional on the part of the creator, but its Registration brings many benefits to the owner and helps him in many ways. Let’s take a look:-

Creation of a public record:- Registration creates the public record. Now it is in the public domain to know that you have Copyright available on this particular work. It ensures your rights and also enables the people to find you to take the license from you for your work.

Sue for Copyright infringement:- The registration of the work also enables the copyright holder to file a suit in Court or take legal action if the copyright infringement has taken place.

1. Economic benefits:- It also gives you the opportunity for en-cashing your work and gain benefits out of it. Reproducing the work, selling the work copies, broadcasting of work, and gaining huge profits out of it. All these possibilities are rewards for you for your creation. You can also license others to use your work and earn royalty out of it.

2. Selling or passing the rights: You also get the chance to sell or pass your work’s rights to someone else. It also results in substantial monetary benefits.

3. Legal Evidence of the Ownership:- It provides you with legal proof to show that this particular work belongs to you. In case of someone prevents you from using your work, this will act as evidence to show that the legal right to use this work belongs to you.

4. Changing the form of the work: It gives you the right to change the work’s form. You can revise the work, update your work or even have a sequel of it.


A work is considered original in if the work’s creator has developed it with independent thinking, and no duplication and plagiarism have been done in its creation. This original work is termed an “Original Work of Authorship”.

Therefore, any person who has the Original Work of Authorship automatically gets Copyright to that particular work. This puts restrictions on others to use it or replicate it. And as we discussed above, the work can be registered for having an edge in the legal system.

However, only specified types of works can be copyrighted. It does not protect the ideas, discoveries, concepts, or theories. It also does not protect the domain of trademarks, like Brand names, logos, slogans, titles, domain names, etc.

There is a requirement for a work to be in a tangible form to be copyrighted. Therefore, musical creations, discoveries, speech, and ideas that are written down can only be protected under Copyright.

Copyright Working in the U.S.

Original works and their owners are protected in the U.S. by Copyright Laws. According to the Copyright laws of the U.S., the original owners are having copyright protection all of their lives and even after 70 years of their deaths. The copyright protection will be short in the case when the original author of the copyrighted material is a corporation.

Several amendments and changes have come into the Copyright Law of the U.S., and these amendments changed copyright protection duration. The Copyright Term Extension Act, 1998 attributed to the copyright duration of “Life of the author + 70 years after his death”. This Act increased copyright protections by 20 years generally. Mickey Mouse also got the copyright extension through this Act for 20 years.


Copyright infringement is the offense committed by a third party when he/ she uses the work protected under the Copyright without the copyright owner’s permission. When someone infringes the exclusive rights provided to the copyright holder, copyrighted work during the tenure of the copyright period is Copyright infringement.

The two most well-known forms which suffer copyright infringement are:-

  • Movies
  • Music

Copyright Infringement leads to contingent liabilities as well.

As per the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, displayed in the public domain, or work is derived from it without being duly authorized by the copyright owner.


As per Section 51 of the Copyright Act, 1957, copyright infringement takes place when:-

1. When a third party unauthorized use the exclusive rights of the owner of the copyrights.

2. When someone permits a place for profit that is to be used to communicate the work to the public.

3. When a person makes the copyrighted work for sale or hires it or lets it for sale the work without being duly authorized by the copyright holder.

4. Distributes the copyrighted work for trade or exhibits it in public for trade and profits.

5. Imports any infringed copy of the copyrighted work.

1. Civil Remedies:-

Section 55 of the Copyright Act, 1957 states that:-

In case of infringement, the copyright owner shall be entitled to remedies by injunction, damages, and other methods. Indian Courts have passed the following orders in infringement cases:-

(a) Interlocutory Injunction:– It is a temporary injunction issued by the Court against copyright infringement. This injunction remains valid till the final disposal of the suit.

(b) John Doe Order:- It means “cease and desist order”, which is passed in copyright infringement suits where it is unknown who has infringed the Copyright. Here the plaintiff is not aware of the ones who have infringed the Copyright. This order stays till the time identity becomes known to the plaintiff.

(c) Anton Pillar Order:- This is an order which permits the owner to search a premise and seize the infringed goods from there along with the Local Commissioner.

2. Criminal Remedies:-

Section 63 of the Copyright Act:-

The criminal proceedings can be initiated by the copyright owner against the one who has infringed the Copyright. The imprisonment in this shall be six months, extending to 3 years with a fine of INR 50,000, which may extend to INR 2,00,000. In case of subsequent conviction, the minimum imprisonment is one year with a minimum fine of INR 1,00,000.

In a criminal proceeding, any police officer not below the Sub-Inspector’s rank is permitted to search and seize the infringed copies without a warrant and then produce those before the Magistrate.


The Copyright Act of India provides for three important institutions for registration of copyright, protection of Copyright, and also for the better enforcement of the rights provided to the copyright owners, without being infringed:-

1. Copyright Office

2. Copyright Board

3. Copyright Societies.

As per Section 9 of the Copyright Act, it is required to establish an office called the Office for the Act. This Office will be under the immediate control of the Registrar of Copyrights, who is to be appointed by the Central Government. The Registrar also passes the order in infringement, which is appealed to the Board. The Registrar has the powers of the Civil Court.


It is a quasi-judicial body constituted in 1958. Its jurisdiction extends to the whole of India. It is constituted by the Central Government to discharge judicial functions under the Act.

1. The Copyright Board has the power to adjudicate disputes about copyright registration, copyright assignment, Licenses grants, unpublished Indian works, production, and Publication of the translated works, and other matters. It also adjudicates the miscellaneous matters instituted under the Act.

2. The Board consists of a chairman and a maximum of 14 members. All shall hold their Office for five years.

3. The chairman must be a person who is, or has been a judge of a High Court or is qualified for the same.

4. No qualifications are mentioned for the members of the Board.

5. The Registrar of the Board also performs all secretarial functions of the Copyright Board.

6. The Registrar has powers of the Civil Court, and the order made by the Registrar related to the payment of money is deemed to be a decree of a civil court.


The Board is constituted to perform judicial functions. That’s why it has the powers of a Civil Court for Sections 345 and 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973.

All proceedings of the Board are judicial proceedings under Section 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The Copyright Board, while exercising the civil court power, may issue summons and examine the oath, may ask for the discovery and production of the document, receive evidence on affidavit, issue commission for the examination of the witness and documents, and ask for a public record or copy thereof from any court.

The Registrar and the Board has the powers of a civil court in the subsequent matters:-

1. Summoning any person for attendance and examination of him on oath;

2. Asking for the discovery and production of any document;

3. Taking evidence on affidavit;

4. Issuing commission for examining the witness and document;

5. Ordering any public order or copy thereof from any court or Office;

6. Any other matter which may be prescribed.

No member of the Board can participate in the proceedings, where his personal interest is present. APPEAL

Section 71 to Section 73 of the Act says that the Registrar’s order may be appealed before the Board within three months, and any decision of the Board may be appealed to High Court within three months.

There is no appeal against the Board’s order on matters related to the term of the Copyright in other countries.

The High Court of that state will have jurisdiction for appeal where the appellant resides or carries out the business or work for gain. For firms or companies, the High Court of the place where the business is carried out will be knocked.

Civil Courts have no jurisdiction in rectifying the register.

The Registrar of Copyright functions as a single arbitrator. The appeals related to it are made to the Copyright Board, and against its order, an appeal lies to High Court.

Therefore, this mechanism provided under the Copyright Act, 1957 is administrative, quasi-judicial, and judicial.


Copyright came into existence with extensive thought so that the work and the people’s efforts towards creativity do not let down. It came with the regulations and laws in different countries, and through these, it has been tried to stop copyright infringement so that the efforts of the creator be cherished.

In India, there are many cinematographic films, music, and books that hold the Copyright and allow its holder to benefit from it. Disney is a very famous example that tried to keep its Mickey Mouse safe and protected itself as Copyright. Given its consistent efforts to bring another law again and again in the U.S. made Disney still holds its copyrights with it, despite its being copyrighted in 1928.