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Sakshi Sharda
| Updated: 11 May, 2020 | Category: Copyright, IPR

What type of Works Protected by Copyright in India?

Works Protected by Copyright

Copyright is a bundle of rights which includes rights of reproduction, adaptation, communication to the public, and translation of the work. The primary criterion to determine whether a person is eligible for Copyright protection is the originality in expression. There are various types of works protected by Copyright in India. Certain rights are also associated with the different types of works protected by Copyright in India. Here, in this article, we will discuss in detail the different types of Works Protected by Copyright in India.

What is a Copyright under the Copyright Act of India?

The term “copyright” is not explicitly defined under the Copyright Act, 1957[1]. The general meaning of the term Copyright refers to the “right to copy” available only to the creator or author. Any other person who copies the original work of the author or creator will be liable for Copyright Infringement as per the provisions laid down in the Copyright Act, 1957. The Copyright Act, 1957, guarantees certain safeguards with regard to the rights of authors over the creations made by them. No civilized society can ignore the essential requirement of encouraging creativity as it is the keystone of progress in society. Additionally, the social and economic development of a society is majorly dependent on creativity.

The protection of copyright provided by the Copyright Act, 1957, to the hard work or efforts of designers, writers, artists, musicians, dramatists, architects and producers of cinematograph films, sound recordings, and computer software, creates an encouraging creativity atmosphere for them, which also encourages them to create or generate more and also motivates others to create such works. In contrast, the creation created by the creator cannot be claimed for ownership for generations as it will be harmful to the social justice. Hence, for the purpose of determining the time period for Copyright protection in India, a term of life, author or creator, in addition to 60 years, is adopted in India. This time period of duration of Copyright protection may vary from country to country. If there is a rigid application of copyright protection in a country, it can affect the progress of the society. Thus, in a country, Copyright laws are enacted with certain necessary exceptions and limitations, which are essential to ensure that a balance is maintained between the interests of the creators and the community.

What is the history of Copyright Law in India?

In India, the evolution of Copyright Law is spread over three phases. Copyright law in India was introduced during the rule of the Britishers in India. The Act enacted under the reign of Britishers was the British Copyright Act, 1911. The British Copyright Act, 1911, had totally different provisions as compared to the current Copyright Law. At the earlier time of the British era, the duration of the copyright was for the lifetime of the author or creator plus 7 years after the death of the author or creator. Though, the total duration of Copyright protection of a work cannot exceed the time period of 42 years.

The government can grant a compulsory license to publish a book if the owner of copyright, upon the death of the author, refused to allow its publication. For enforcement of the Copyright related rights under the British Copyright Act, 1911, Copyright Registration with the Home Office was a mandatory requirement at that time. This whole was the first phase of the enforcement of Copyright Law in the country.   The second phase of Copyright law started in the year 1914. In the year 1914, the Copyright Act, 1914, was enacted by the Indian legislature under the British Raj. The 1914 Act was almost parallel and similar to the old British Copyright Act of 1911. In the Copyright Act, 1914, some significant changes were made. The change in the Copyright Act, 1914, was made regarding Copyright Infringement by introducing criminal sanctions for the same. After coming of the 1914 Act, there were several amendments made in the Act. Later on, the third phase of the Copyright Law evolution came in the country with the coming of the Copyright Act, 1957. The 1957 Act was enacted with the purpose of enhancing the provisions of the Berne Convention. The Copyright Act, 1957, was passed by Independent India and is the main Act by which the country is governed till date.

What are the different types of works protected by copyright in India?

Section 13, under Chapter III of the Copyright Act, 1957, provides for provisions related to the different types of works protected by Copyright in India. The different types of works protected by copyright are as follows:

different types of works protected by copyright in India

Literary Works

The Literary Works includes the original or unique creation of literature, which can be in any form like a work of fiction, technical books or paper, biography, dramatics, thesis, script, research work, compilation, tables, and computer programmes including computer databases. It can be claimed regardless of the style, quality, or literary merit of the work.

Dramatic Works

The Dramatic Work is also a type of literary work. The Dramatic Works includes any arrangement of acting a play, or a part for recitation, or choreographing work or dumb show entertainment, a picturesque arrangement, or acting work based on a fixed writing work. But, the Dramatic works does not include any type of cinematograph films.

Musical Works

A Musical Work is a distinct work that is copyrightable in itself. The Musical Works does not include any sound or lyrics. Though the works related to sound recordings are dependent on the musical works, but for the protection of Musical Works, a separate application is required to be moved with the Copyright Office for the Registration of such musical work. The author of a sound recording is not required to take any permission from the author of a Musical Work. For enjoying Copyright protection for a Musical Works, it is not required that the Musical Work is written down.

Artistic Works

Section 2 of the Copyright Act, 1957 provides for the provisions related to the Artistic Works protected by Copyright in India. Under Section 2 of the Copyright Act, 1957, a protection of copyright in artwork exists in an original artistic work comprising of sculptures, paintings, cartoons, graphics, lithographs, etchings, drawings, plans, photography, diagrams, models of buildings, charts, buildings, maps, molds and casts for sculptures.

Cinematograph Films

A cinematograph film is a work of visual recording together with the sound recordings accomplished by any process, whether digital or analogous, including the video films. It also includes visual recording in any medium and by any way of storing such visual recording. As per the definition of cinematograph films, every single recorded work with moving images or visuals will be considered a cinematograph.

Sound Recordings

A Sound Recording comprises of any work of sound recording irrespective of its storage medium. The songs which contain singers voice with or without music, a recorded speech or an audio, or podcast is the examples of sound recording. In case the sound recording also contains music, so the permission from the author of musical work is required to be obtained for the Copyright protection of the sound recording.

What are the exclusive rights associated with the different types of works protected by Copyright in India?

The exclusive rights associated with different type of works protected by Copyright in India are as follows:

Literary Works

In the case of a Copyright of Literary Works (except the computer programmes), the copyright means an exclusive right:

  • For reproducing the work;
  • For issuing copies of the work to the public;
  • For performing the work in public;
  • For communicating the work to the public;
  • For making sound recording or cinematograph film in respect of the work;
  • For making any translation of the work;
  • To make certain adaptations of work.

Dramatic Work

In the case of a Copyright of Dramatic Works, the copyright means an exclusive right: 

  • For reproducing the work;
  • For issuing copies of the work to the public;
  • For communicating the work to the public;
  • For including the work in any cinematograph film;
  • For making any translation of the work;
  • To make any adaptation of the work.

Artistic Work

In the case of a Copyright of Artistic Works, the copyright means an exclusive right: 

  • For reproducing the work;
  • For issuing copies of the work to the public;
  • For communicating the work to the public;
  • For including the work in any cinematograph film;
  • To make any adaptation of the work.

Musical Work

In the case of a Copyright of Musical Works, the copyright means an exclusive right:

  • For reproducing the work;
  • For issuing copies of the work to the public;
  • For performing the work in public;
  • For communicating the work to the public;
  • For making sound recording or cinematograph film in respect of the work;
  • For making any translation of the work;
  • To make any adaptation of the work.

Cinematograph Film

In the case of a Copyright of Cinematograph Films, the copyright means an exclusive right:

  • For communicating the cinematograph film to the public;
  • For selling or giving on hire or offer for sale or hire a copy of the film;
  • For making a copy of the film, which includes a photograph of any image forming part thereof.

Sound Recordings

In the case of a Copyright of Sound Recordings, the copyright means an exclusive right:

  • For making any other sound recording symbolizing it;
  • For selling or giving on hire, or offering for sale or hire, any copy of the sound recordings;
  • For communicating the sound recordings to the common public.

Read our article:Copyright Infringement Notice in India: Complete Overview

How are Foreign Works Protected by Copyright in India?

In India, the copyright related to foreign works is also protected. The copyright of residents of countries that are members of the Universal Copyright Convention, Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the TRIPS Agreement are protected in India. The protection of copyright to these foreign nationals are given through the International Copyright Order. By the application of the International Copyright Order on the works of these nationals, the works are considered to be Indian works which are Copyrighted as provided by the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. The validity of such works is only within the borders of the country. For securing protection for Indian works in foreign countries, India has become a member of some international conventions on copyright and other related rights.

The different international conventions of which India became member are as follows:

  • Universal Copyright Convention.
  • The TRIPS or Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement.
  • The Berne Convention for Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
  • Multilateral Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Copyright Royalties.
  • Convention for Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorised Duplication of their Phonograms.

What is not included in the type of works protected by Copyright in India?

The different things which are not included in the type of works protected by copyright are as follows:

 type of works protected by copyright in India

Ideas, Methods, or Systems

Under Copyright Act, 1957, for Copyright protection ideas, methods, and systems are not covered. The ideas, methods, and systems include building or making things, technical or scientific methods, technical or scientific discoveries, mathematical principles, business procedures or operations, algorithms, formulas, or any other process, concept, or method of operation.

Commonly Known Information

The category of commonly known information contains substances or items that are considered to be with no known authorship or are common property. Examples of such commonly known information includes height and weight charts, standard calendars, tape measures and rulers, telephone directories, and tables or lists taken from any of the public documents. Such as a phrase, The sky is blue, also comes under the above category as there is no known authorship or ownership associated with such a phrase.

Names, Titles, Short Phrases, or Expressions

The names, titles, short phrases, or expressions such as any catchy slogan someone came up with for his/her business, product descriptions, title of works, pseudonyms, and business names. The names mentioned above, titles, short phrases, or expressions are not protected under Copyright Act, 1957, if the above things relate to someone’s business, for example, goods and services, such things can be protected with a trademark under the Trademark Act, 1999.

Choreographic Works

Any choreographic work, whether original or not, is not subject to the protection of copyright unless it has been notated or videotaped. The same applies to speeches that have not been recorded before or after they are given, along with any other types of performances.

Fashion

Fashion, that is to say, a dress, shirt, or any other article of clothing is not protected under copyright law. In spite of the fact that Copyright Law protects such things as works of the visual arts or architectural design work, fashion is all about accessories and clothing, which as per Copyright Law, are considered as useful or valuable articles. However, it is possible to have Copyright protection of a definite fabric pattern, but not the actual dress. And, it should be noted that while designs can be a type of works protected by copyright in a particular format in India.

Conclusion

The above-mentioned different categories of works protected by Copyright in India are relatively amorphous and broad. The scope of the copyright law concerning the nature of creative work is drafted in such a way to take into account almost any form of creative work. The different categories in which the works can be potentially protected by copyright are so broad that it is challenging to imagine the other type of works that cannot be protected by copyright.

The wide range of variety of works protected by copyright provides satisfaction in the mind of creators or inventors regarding the use and productivity of their works. Any person having questions about what category his/her work might fall under, or having trouble in filing the application for copyright within the correct category, feel free to contact our experienced and trained professionals at Corpbiz. We at Corpbiz have trained professionals to help you throughout the procedure for filing applications for copyright. Our professionals will guide and assist you with the whole process of filing the applications for copyright. Our professionals will ensure the timely and effective completion of your work. 

Read our article:Ownership and Authorship of Copyright in India

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Sakshi Sharda

Sakshi Sharda has done BBALLB(HONS) and holds a strong knowledge on the matters pertaining to finance and law. From the past one year she is working as a legal advisor and in her leisure time she works on improvising her knowledge. Sakshi is spreading her knowledge by writing for Corpbiz.

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