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What is Copyright and how to register Copyright in India?

When any work such as a book, music, movie is created there are chances that someone else may copy it and claim it as theirs. Copyright protects the original work of a person and prohibits it from being copied or falsely claimed by others

Points covered in this article are

  1. What does Copyright mean?

  2. Which act governs copyright laws?

  3. Which works can be copyrighted?

  4. Documents required for Copyright registration

  5. Steps for Copyright Registration

  6. Benefits of claiming copyright

  7. Validity of Copyright Registration

  8. Fees for Copyright Registration

  9. Difference between Trademark and Copyright

  10. Copyright Infringement

1. What does Copyright mean?

Copyright is an intellectual property which protects the creator of the work from unauthorized use of their property. Simply stated copyright is created so that a third party cannot copy the original work. In India copyright is governed by Copyright Act, 1957 and Copyright rules, 2013

2. Which act governs copyright law?

The Copyright Act, 1957 states provisions of copyrighting any creative work. The act gives intellectual property protection under the law. This is applicable only on the 'expression of the idea' and not the idea itself. Specific rights are given to the owner of copyright under section 14 of the Copyright Act, 1957. These rights include right to adaptation, right to reproduction, right to translations etc.

3. Which works can be copyrighted?

The Copyright Act of India has specified certain types of works that can be copyrighted. They are

● Literary works like writing a book

● Musical works

● Sound recordings

● Dramatic works

● Pictorial, Graphic and Sculptural work

● Motion pictures and audiovisual works

All these works should be original work in order to claim copyright

4. Documents required for copyright registration

For a successful registration of Copyright on certain work, few documents are to be submitted. They are

● 3 copies of the work

● If the applicant and original owner is different, No Objection Certificate (NOC) should be given by the owner

● Personal information of the author

● Other details such as title and language of work

Along with all the above-mentioned documents, some documents are to be submitted based on what kind of work is being copyrighted

5. Steps for Copyright Registration

  1. Filing the application-an application and fees for registration is to be submitted with Intellectual Property Officer. This can be done by online or offline mode. Visit

  1. Examination - The scrutiny of all the documents is to be conducted. This process may take upto 30 days

  2. On examination, if there is no discrepancy further registration can be made.

  3. If some third party objects the registration, further examination is made

  4. Approval/Rejection- After all the above-mentioned processes, if all the specifications are met then registration shall be successful. If not, then rejection letter will be issued to the applicant.

Registration for Copyright depends on the registrar. If the registrar is satisfied with all the conditions, registration will be completed

6. Benefits of claiming copyright

● Record of ownership can be made through copyright registration. It can be known by the public as to who is the owner of a work

● Legal protection will be given if someone uses their property illegally. The owner can claim copyright and make legal charges on person using it

● It gives right to claim damages when their work is misused

7. Validity of Copyright Registration

Once the copyright is registered for a certain period of time it shall be valid. In the case of literary, musical, dramatic and artistic work, the period of validity is 60 years from the death of the author or artist. In case of films, sound recordings, cinematography the validity is for 60 years from the date of publication

8. Fees for Copyright Registration

Fees for Copyright Registration varies depending on from Rs. 500 to Rs. 15000. For any literary, artistic and musical work fees is Rs. 500 per work and Rs. 2,000 for sound recording

9. Difference between Trademark and copyright

Many people tend to get confused about trademark and copyright. These are not the same. The differentiating points are

  1. Trademarks protect logos, name slogans etc. On the other hand copyright protects artistic works such as films, sound recordings etc

  2. Trademark is to know the name and brand of the product. Copyright gives right to make copies of the work and distribute

  3. Trademark is to secure the brand name while copyright is to claim the ownership of any work

  4. Trademark uses ® sign after registration. Copyright uses © sign

It is important to know the difference before making registration. Copyright gives owner its recognition while Trademark builds goodwill of the brand

10. Copyright Infringement

As the owner has legal right and ownership over his work, if someone uses such property without the owner's permission it will be considered as Copyright Infringement or Piracy. Under civil and criminal law legal action may be taken against the infringer of the work

● The guilty shall be liable for imprisonment of 6 months to 3 years

● Fine of Rs. 50,000 upto Rs. 200,000 can be charged

To avoid penal provisions, when someone else's work is used as your own, prior permission is to be taken and credits should be given to the owner of such work

If Copyright is not claimed, misuse of data can be made. When someone creates their own work, lots of efforts and resources are poured in. Still it is common to see pirated copies of books, CDs, Movies etc. The legal owners take precautionary measures to reduce piracy but piracy is highly existent in India

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the requisites to claim copyright?

To make copyright registration on some work, it should be original work and it should fall under categories of work species under copyright law

2. What is the purpose of copyright?

Copyright is to give the owner of work, right or ownership on their work and to is make sure that it is not misused

3. Is Copyright and Trademark the same?

Copyright is the right to ownership to the owner of an original work. Trademark is to give a product its brand value

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