The Copyright Act 1957 governs the law pertaining to copyright in India. The
major goals of this copyright law are twofold: first, to guarantee authors,
musicians, painters, designers, and other creative individuals the right to
their creative interpretation; and second, to enable others to openly develop
upon the concepts and knowledge made available by a work. India's history with
copyright laws dates back to the British Empire's colonial rule.
A law called the Indian Copyright Act, 1957, was passed; it went into effect in
January 1958 and has since undergone five revisions, in 1983, 1984, 1992, 1994,
and 1999. The Copyright Act of 1957 was India's first copyright law following
independence, and six amendments have been made since then. The Copyright
amendment act 2012, which was passed in 2012, was the most recent amendment. The
concept of copyright in India is governed by the Indian Copyright Act, 1957, as
modified from time to time, and the Indian Copyright Rules.
What Is Copyright?
Copyright is a type of intellectual property right. Copyright is a right given
by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and
producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle
of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the
public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations
in the composition of the rights depending on the work.
The Copyright Act, 1957 completely replicates the Berne Convention for
Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, 1886 and the Universal Copyrights
Convention after the amendments in 1999, 2002 and 2012 and India is a party to
both the conventions. India has signed the Geneva Convention for the Protection
of Rights of Producers of Phonograms and is an active member of the World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The term "copyright" refers to a collection of exclusive rights that Section 14
of the Act grants to the owner of the copyright. Only the copyright owner or
another person who has permission to do so from the copyright owner may exercise
these rights. These rights include the ability to adapt, reproduce, publish,
translate, and communicate with the public, among other things. Copyright
registration just establishes an entry for the work in the Copyright Register
kept by the Registrar of Copyrights and does not grant any rights.
Why Should Copyright Be Protected?
Copyright ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their
creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity. Creativity being the
keystone of progress, no civilized society can afford to ignore the basic
requirement of encouraging the same. Economic and social development of a
society is dependent on creativity. The protection provided by copyright to the
efforts of writers, artists, designers, dramatists, musicians, architects and
producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films and computer software,
creates an atmosphere conducive to creativity, which induces them to create more
and motivates others to create.
Objectives Of Copyright Law
Copyright is primarily intended to advance science and useful art and to
compensate authors for their labour. In order to do this, copyright guarantees
authors the right to their creative expression while allowing others to openly
expand upon the concepts and knowledge presented in a work. The primary goals of
copyright law are twofold. First and foremost, copyright laws were created by
nations to guarantee the original expression of writers, songwriters, designers,
artists, and other creatives, as well as film and sound recording producers, who
risked their money to present their works to the public.
Second, a work's knowledge and suggestions can be freely expanded upon by
others, thanks to copyright legislation. Additionally, it permits some
unrestricted uses of copyrighted content. The Copyright Act of 1957 outlines the
range of these permissible uses. To establish harmony between the rights of the
copyright owner and the welfare of people to the greatest possible degree in the
interest of society, measures relating to free use are included in the Act.
The Madras High Court held that "copyright law is to preserve the fruits of a
man's effort, labour, talent, or test from annexation by other persons" in
Sulamangalam R. Jayalakshmi v. Meta Musicals
, Chennai (2000).
Eastern Book company v/s Navin J. desai
The question involved was whether there is any copyright in the reporting of the
judgment of a court. The Delhi High court held that it is not denied that under
section 2(k) of the Copyright Act, a work which is made or published under the
direction or control of any Court, tribunal or other judicial authority in India
is a Government work.
Under section 52(q), the reproduction or publication of any judgment or order of
a court, tribunal or other judicial authority shall not constitute infringement
of copyright of the government in these works. It is thus clear that it is open
to everybody to reproduce and publish the government work including the
judgment/ order of a court.
However, in case, a person by extensive reading, careful study and comparison
and with the exercise of taste and judgment has made certain comments about
judgment or has written a commentary thereon, may be such a comment and
commentary is entitled to protection under the Copyright Act. The court further
observed: In terms of section 52(1)(q) of the Act, reproduction of a judgment of
the court is an exception to the infringement of the Copyright.
The orders and judgments of the court are in the public domain and anyone can
publish them. Not only that being a Government work, no-copyright exists in
these orders and judgments. No one can claim copyright in these judgments and
orders of the court merely on the ground that he had first published them in his
book. Changes consisting of elimination, changes of spelling, elimination or
addition of quotations and corrections of typographical mistakes are trivial and
hence no copyright exists therein.
The concept of copyright was first introduced with the passing of the Statute of
Anne in April 1710, which provides the protection of 14 years for works
published after commencement of the act. Further, various judicial
pronouncements developed the concept of copyright in Britain.
And later, British System adopted the Copyright Act of United States of America
in 1790. It was provided for the protection of books, maps, and charts for a
period of 11 years from the first publication, which could be renewed for a
further term if the author was still alive.
And The English copyright act of 1842, (a new era in the regime of copyright law
in England) expanded the scope and nature of copyright. In 1884, an
International Copyright Act was empower her Majesty to provide protection to the
authors of books and works of giving foreign jurisdiction.
In India, the copyright law was introduced by the East India company regime in
1847 through an enactment. According to the 1847 enactment, Copyright is a term
which can be used for lifetime and even after the death of the author under some
In this Act, it was provided that under a contract of service copyright in any
encyclopedia, review, magazine, periodical work or work published in a series of
books or parts shall vest in the proprietor, projector, publisher or conductor.
Infringing copies were deemed to be copies of the proprietor of copyrighted
work. Importantly, unlike today, copyright in a work was not automatic.
Registration of copyright was mandatory for the enforcement of rights under the
Act. However, the Act also specifically reserved the subsistence of copyright in
the author, and his right to sue for its infringement to the extent. In 1914,
the Indian legislature enacted a new Copyright Act which extended most portions
of the United Kingdom Copyright Act of 1911 to India. It did makes minor changes
in the act.
Firstly, it introduced criminal sanctions for copyright infringement (sections 7
Secondly, it changes the scope of copyright; under section 4 the sole right of
the author to produce, reproduce, perform or publish a translation of the work
shall subsist only for a period of ten years from the date of the first
publication of the work.
The author, however, retained her sole rights if within the period of ten years
she published or authorized publication of her work a translation in any
language in respect of that language.
Subject Matter Of Protection
Chapter one mainly portray the subject matter of protection of copyright because
the copyright has become an international nature due to the advancement of the
technology and anyone can violate the rights of others from any part of the
world. As per the different subsections of section 2 of the copyright act, 1957
and judicial interpretation from time to time many matters are eligible to get
On analyzing all the classification and categorizations of the works as provided
under different sub-section of section 2 of the copyright act 1957 and taking
reference from the judicial views of the different high courts and the supreme
court of India, the following copyrighted heads in the subsection 2 and related
works will enjoy the copyright protection under the current updated amended
Subject matter of copyright
All subject matters protected by copyright are called 'works'. Thus according to
Section 13 of The Copyright Act 1957, it may be subjected for the following
- Original Literary Work,
- Original Dramatic work,
- Original Musical work,
- Original Artistic Work,
- Cinematography films, and
- Sound recordings
Original Literary Work
Literary work refers to works that are in writing. The Act does not classify
literary work, but we understand that as work that are captured in writing. The
act says that literary work includes computer programmes, tables, and
compilations including computer databases. The literary work need not have any
literary merit and it is not the job of the courts to look into the literary
merit of copyright work.
So, courts have found that football fixture lists, mathematical tables, tombola
tickets, etc. are capable of copyright protection. The number of words in a
copyrighted material is not an indicator of quality and the author of
copyrighted work is the author who makes the work or who creates the work.
There are certain things that cannot be protected under a copyright. For
instance, phrases, names, invented words and slogans cannot form a part of
copyright protections. The names especially used in commerce or in trade are
protected by trademarks and invented work and slogans, for example the slogan
which Pepsi used a while ago "Yeh Dil Mange more", which is an advertising
slogan was held something that can not protected under the copyright Act.
Original Dramatic Work
According to the Copyright Act 1957, the dramatic work includes any piece for
recitation, choreographic work or entertainment in dumb shows, the scenic
arrangement or acting form which is fixed in writing or otherwise but does not
include a cinematographic film. Since the definition is an inclusive one, the
other things fall within the general meaning of dramatic work, and may also be
covered by the definition.
Original Artistic Work
An artistic work as mentioned in the Act, a painting, a sculpture, a drawing
includes a diagram, map, chart or plan, an engraving or a photograph, and
whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality. A work of architecture
is included as an artistic work and any work of artistic craftsmanship can also
come under the ambit of an artistic work.
The author of an artistic work is the artist of the artistic work other than
photograph. The photograph is a person who takes the photograph, who is regarded
as the author. Recently there was an issue with regard to a selfie taken by a
monkey. The Court has held that, the person has to be a human being and so far
intellectual property rights have only covered Intellectual work of humans.
"Sound recording" means a recording of sounds from which sounds may be produced
regardless of the medium on which such recording is made or the method by which
the sounds are produced. A phonogram and a CD-ROM are sound recordings.
The term of copyright varies depending on the kind of work that is protected.
Literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works are protected for the life of the
author and after the death for a period of 60 years. For posthumous work
published after the death of the author. It is 60 years from the time the work
is first published. Therefore, cinematograph films sound recording, government
works, works of international organizations all are prospected for 60 years from
the work first published.
Here the ownership in copyright may vest in different persons under different
circumstances. Like of a work is created by an employee in the course of his or
her employment, the employer owns the copyright. If the work is created by an
independent contractor and the independent contractor signs a written agreement
stating that the work shall be "made for hire,"
The commission person or organization owns the copyright only if the work is a
part of the larger literary work, such as an article in a magazine or a poem or
story in anthology; part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, such as
screenplay, a translation, a supplementary work, such as an afterword, an
introduction, chart, editorial note, bibliography, appendix or index; a
compilation; an instructional text; a test or answer material for a test; or an
Works that do not fall within one of these eight classifications constitute
works made for hire only if created by an employee within the scope of his or
her employment. If the creator has sold the entire copyright, the purchasing
business or person becomes the copyright owner.
According to the Copyright Act,1957 cinematographic films includes any work of
visual recording and a sound recording accompanying such visual recording and
the expression cinematograph shall be construed as including any work produced
by any process analogous to cinematographic including video films.
The copyright law is considered as an essential law of protection for a country
because it enriches its national cultural heritage of it. However, higher the
level of protection given to literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work in any
country, automatically higher is the number of intelligent creation, i.e. higher
Thus, in the final analysis, we can say for economic, cultural and social
development, it is the basic perquisites. Intellectual Property Rights have been
present for a very long time. These are the rights that are given to people for
their creative work. These rights are in the form of patents, copyrights, and
They form the intellectual property laws to protect these rights of the people
over their creativity. Even though the intellectual property laws have developed
over time, the intent of the laws remains the same i.e., that the laws encourage
the creativity shown by people and for them to reap benefits from their ideas.
The society is never static; it keeps on changing with change in time. The
globalization of the society has led to the advancement in technology.
With the advancement in technology, the copyright infringement has become more
easy now-a-days. Therefore, the legislative amendments made in copyright Act all
these years' help in protecting the authors from any copyright infringement. The
higher level of protection is given to literary, dramatic, musical or artistic
work in any country.