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Copyright Registration in India

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Copyright in India

There is surge in the amount of intellectual property being registered in India due to an increase in awareness among people about intellectual property laws and the advancement of technology, allowing for online registration of many of the type of intellectual property being created. Copyright registration is one of the key types of intellectual property protection and allows for the protection of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. In this article we look at the basics of copyright registration in India:


Copyright is a right to ownership and enjoyment given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. It is a bundle of rights comprising of rights to reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. Copyright ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of ownership and enjoyment of the authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity.

What can be copyrighted?

Any work namely literary, dramatic, musical, artistic work,  cinematograph film, or sound recording can be copyrighted. Copyrights are given in India in mainly three classes of work and each class has its own distinctive rights under the Copyright Act. Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works are one class of work that comprise of copyrights for books, music, painting, a sculpture, etc., Cinematograph films are another class of copyright which consists of any work of visual recording on any medium. Finally, sound recordings are a distinctive class under the copyright act consisting of recording of sounds, regardless of the medium on which such recording is made or the method by which the sounds are produced.

Copyright registration

A limited amount of copyright protection comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring copyright. However, to prove ownership over copyright and to serve as prima-facie evidence in the court of law, works can be registered in the Register of Copyrights maintained in the Copyright Office of the Department of Education. To apply for copyright, application for registration is to be made on Form IV in the requisite manner along with the applicable fee. Both published and unpublished works can be copyrighted. In case of published work, three copies of the published work has to be presented along with the application. In case of unpublished work, a copy of the manuscript has to be sent along with the application for affixing the stamp of the Copyright Office in proof of the work having been registered.
Copyright protection typically lasts for 60 years. In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the 60-year period is counted from the year following the death of the author. In the case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government and works of international organizations, the 60 year period is counted from the date of publication.

Remedy for copyright infringement

Copyright infringement of any work is a criminal offense punishable under Section 63 of the Copyright Act. The minimum punishment for infringement of a copyright is imprisonment for six months with a minimum fine of Rs.50,000/-. Also, in case a copyright infringement has happened or happening or likely to happen, any police officer, not below the rank of a sub inspector, may, if he is satisfied, seize without warrant, all copies of the work and all plates used for the purpose of making infringing copies of the work.

Lawful use of copyrighted work without copyright owner’s permission

The law under certain conditions allows the use of a registered work without the permission of the owner for research, study, criticism, review and news reporting, as well as use of works in library and schools and in the legislatures. In order to protect the interests of users, some exemptions have been prescribed in respect of specific uses of works enjoying copyright. Some of the exemptions are the uses of the work, i) for research or private study, ii) for criticism or review, iii) for reporting current events, iv) in connection with judicial proceeding, v) for performance by an amateur club or society if the performance for a non-paying audience, and vi) the making of sound recordings of literary, dramatic or musical works under certain conditions.
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