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Notes on Indian Copyright Act 1957

Notes for UPSC Law Optional Mains - Contemporary Legal Development | Copyright Act 1957


GENERAL MEANING OF COPYRIGHT: Copyright refers to the “right to copy”

In what works copyright subsist ? Relevant Provision : Chapter III, Section 13 Copyright is given to following original work :

Ø Literary works (including computer programmes, tables and compilations including computer literary data bases)

Ø Dramatic works

Ø Musical works

Ø Artistic works

Ø Cinematograph films

Ø Sound recordings.

Theory for original work : CASE LAW I Macmillan & Company Ltd. v. Cooper, + University of London Press v. University Tutorial Press # THEORY : ‘sweat of the brow’ theory- Originality derives from sufficient labour, skill, capital and efforts applied in the work # Burlington Home Shopping v. Rajnish Chibber.

CASE LAW II: Feists Publication Vs Rural Telephone Services # CONCEPT : Minimum modicum of creativity - It must be independently created by the author and that it possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity.

CASE LAW III: Eastern Book Company v. D.B. Modak # CONCEPT : An ‘original’ must be a “product of an exercise of skill and judgment

Works from which foreign national is recognised in India ? Copyright of nationals of countries who are members of

Ø The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works,

Ø Universal Copyright Convention and

Ø The TRIPS Agreement are protected in India- through the International Copyright Order, as if such works are Indian works

Territorial limit of copyright : Valid only within the borders of the country.

Protection of Indian copyright in foreign country : Indi seek protection through these international conventions :-

Ø Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic works.

Ø Universal Copyright Convention.

Ø Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms.

Ø Multilateral Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Copyright Royalties.

Ø Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

WHO OWNS THIS RIGHT TO COPY ? It is available only to the author or the creator.

Why Copyright ? The protection to the efforts of creators.

What is the enactment concerning copyright ? The Copyright Act, 1957 .

What is the time period for copyright ? Life + 60 years in India.

Cinematographic film

60 year from the post calendar year of the release of the Film

Copyright bothers about quality violation not quantity violation – explain ! Copyright in a work is considered as infringed only if a substantial part is used unauthorized.

CASE LAW : Campbell Vs Acuff Ross Music Inc. # FINDINGS : If a lyricist copy a very catching phrase from another lyricist’s song= infringement .

What are the Economic Rights attached with copyright ?

Relevant provision : Sec: 14

What are the moral form of rights attached with copyrights ?

Relevant provision : Section 57 # There are two basic “moral rights” of an author. These are:

(i) Right of paternity = right of an author to claim authorship of work and a right to prevent all others from claiming authorship of his work.

(ii) Right of integrity = Author’s right to prevent distortion, mutilation or other alterations of his work.

CASE LAW : Eastern Book company v Navin J.Desai # Reproduction of a judgment of the court is an exception to the infringement of the Copyright.


Should the copyright be registered ? Registration not compulsory.

Then why registration ? Registration serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law

Now ! What is procedure for registration ? Relevant Provision : Chapter VI

Additional procedure in publishing unpublished work : - Whole /part of manuscript must be sent.

Whether work registered as unpublished be changed later as published ? Yes ! Whether works published before enactment of the act could be registered ? Yes ! - provided the works still enjoy copyright.


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