copyright registration
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This article is written by Srishti Kaushal, a first-year student from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, pursuing B.A. LLB. (Hons.). In this article, she discussed the reason why copyright registration is beneficial and explains the procedure for copyright registration.

Introduction

What if you write a new book. It is a literary masterpiece that can fetch you a lot of money, but you are scared and wonder what would happen if on releasing it, people copy it and sell it under their name? What do you need to do to prevent this and protect your rights?

The answer is easy. You need to get your work registered with the Registrar of Copyrights. Copyright is a right given by the law to the creators of original work in the areas of literature, drama, music, art etc. A registered copyright legally protects your work and prevents its unauthorised usage. 

Between 2017 and 2018, there were nearly 40000 copyright disputes and discrepancy examinations. To avoid this you must understand the requirements for copyright registration and what the process entails. 

In this article, we will understand the types of work you can obtain a copyright for, the people who are entitled to get a copyright for a piece of work, the essential documents you must have when you are trying to get a copyright and the procedure involved in the copyright registration process.

What kind of work can be registered using a copyright?

In India, copyright can be taken for original works that fall in the area of:

  • Musical works,
  • Literary works like books and manuscripts,
  • Cinematography films,
  • Fashion designs,
  • Artistic works like paintings,
  • Performances,
  • Software and other computer programs and compilations, etc.

However, it must be remembered that copyright does not protect titles, names, ideas, concepts, slogans, methods, and short phrases.

Why do you need a copyright?

When you create original work then copyright is acquired automatically. The question which then arises is why do you need to get it registered. To answer this, let’s look at an illustration.

Suppose A made a painting after working day and night and putting in a lot of sweat and effort into it. He then put it up on his website for others to see. After a few months, A noticed that someone else had copied it and was making money off it. What did he do? Of course, he sued the person in the court of law. Now, because he had copyright, he could use it as evidence in the court and prove that it is his painting and the infringer must be punished.

Through this illustration, we can observe that registered copyrights protect your work and prevent others from using it to their own advantage. 

Let’s discuss some benefits of getting copyright registered for your work:

  • Copyright registration creates a public record. It tells the world that your work is protected by copyright and also enables a person who wants to licence your work to find you.
  • It enables you to file a lawsuit and take legal action against someone who infringes your copyright, say by selling copies of your work without your permission. 
  • It provides you with economic benefits by entitling you to use your work in various ways like making copies, performing in public, broadcasting your work etc, and availing appropriate reward for it. Thus, it provides you with a reward for your creativity.
  • It allows you to sell or pass the rights of your work.
  • It allows you to get legal evidence of your ownership. So if someone prevents you from using your work, you can just use your copyright to prove that it’s your work and you have a right to use it.
  • It allows you to change the form of your work. For example, it allows you to make a sequel or revise or update the work.

Who can register a piece of work with the Registrar of  Copyrights?

If you made a new painting using your mind and talent. Can anyone get a copyright for it? Of course not. Let’s see who is legally entitled to get a copyright for his/her work. 

The following people are entitled to submit an application to get a copyright:

The author

The author of the work is:

  1. Either the person who actually created the work, or
  2. If made during the scope of employment, then the employer. This is considered as ‘work made for hire’.
  3. Such an author is legally allowed to get a copyright for his/her work.

The owner of exclusive rights

The copyright law can grant a person exclusive rights to control and use and distribution of an original work. These rights include the right to reproduce or make copies of the original work, the right to distribute copies of the work, the right to publicly display the work, the right to perform the work and the right to alter the work and make derivatives of the original work. The owner of such exclusive rights is permitted to apply for registering his or her claim in the work. 

The copyright claimant

This is either:

  1. The author, or
  2. A person or an organization that has obtained ownership rights from the author through a written contract, will etc.

The authorized agent

This refers to any person authorized to act on behalf of either:

  1. The author, or
  2. The copyright claimant, or
  3. The owner of an exclusive right.

It must also be mentioned here that there is no age bar for getting a copyright and a minor is also entitled to register a copyright. This is because copyright law recognised creativity and understands that age cannot be a restriction on creativity. Also, in case the work is created by two or more people then the creators of the work are co-owners unless they have agreed otherwise.

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Essential documents required for copyright registration

Before we discuss the procedure which you must follow if you want to get your work registered under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957, we must look into the essential documents that you require for smooth registration. 

Though there are some special requirements for different kinds of work, broadly the essential requirements are:

  • 3 copies of the work if the work is published;
  • If the work is not published, then 2 copies of manuscripts;
  • If the application is being filed by an attorney, then special power of attorney or vakalatnama signed by the attorney and the party;
  • Authorization in respect of work, if the work is not the work of the applicant;
  • Information regarding the title and language of the work;
  • Information regarding the name, address and nationality of the applicant;
  • Applicant must also provide his mobile number and email address;
  • If the applicant is not the author, a document containing the name, address and nationality of the author, and if the author is deceased, the date of his death;
  • If the work is to be used on a product, then a no-objection certificate from the trademark office is required;
  • If the applicant is other than the author, a no-objection certificate from the author is required. In this case, an authorization of the author may also be required;
  • If a person’s photo is appearing in the work, then a no-objection certificate from such person is required;
  • In case the publisher is not the applicant, a no-objection certificate from the publisher is required;
  • If the work is published, the year and address of first publication is also required;
  • Information regarding the year and country of subsequent publications;
  • In case of copyright is for software, then source code and object code are also required.

Procedure for registering a copyright

Now that we understand who is entitled to get a copyright and what essential documents they must have to get it registered, let’s see how you can register your original work with the copyright registrar under Chapter X of the Indian Copyright Act,1957 and Rule 70 of the Copyright Rules’ 2013.

The steps involved in the registration process are:

Step 1: File an Application

In the first step :

  • The author of the work, copyright claimant, owner of an exclusive right for the work or an authorized agent file an application either physically in the copyrights office or through speed/registered post or through e-filing facility available on the official website (copyright.gov.in).
  • For registration of each work, a separate application must be filed with the registrar along with the particulars of the work. Along with this, the requisite fee must also be given, Different types of work have different fees. 

For example, getting the copyright for an artistic work registered, the application fees is INR 500, while for getting the copyright for a cinematograph film registered is INR 5000. The application fees range from INR. 5000 to INR. 40000. It can be paid through a demand draft (DD) or Indian postal order (IPO) addressed to the Registrar of Copyright Payable at New Delhi or through e-payment facility. This application must be filed with all the essential documents. 

At the end of this step, the registrar will issue a dairy number to the applicant.

Step 2: Examination

In the next step, the examination of the copyright application takes place.

Once the dairy number is issued, there is a minimum 30 days waiting period. In this time period, the copyright examiner reviews the application. This waiting period exists so that objections can arise and be reviewed. Here the process gets divided into two segments:

  • In case no objections are raised, the examiner goes ahead to review and scrutinize the application to find any discrepancy.
    1. If there is no fault and all the essential documents and information is provided along with the application, it is a case of zero discrepancies. In this case, the applicant is allowed to go forward with the next step.
    2. In case some discrepancies are found, a letter of discrepancy is sent to the applicant. Based upon his reply, a hearing is conducted by the registrar. Once the discrepancy is resolved, the applicant is allowed to move forward to the next step.
  • In case objections are raised by someone against the applicant, letters are sent out to both parties and they are called to be heard by the registrar.
    1. Upon hearing if the objection is rejected, the application goes ahead for scrutiny and the above-mentioned discrepancy procedure is followed. 
    2. In case the objection is not clarified or discrepancy is not resolved, the application is rejected and a rejection letter is sent to the applicant. For such applicant, the copyright registration procedure ends here.

Step 3: Registration

The final step in this process can be termed as registration. In this step, the registrar might ask for more documents. Once completely satisfied with the copyright claim made by the applicant, the Registrar of Copyrights would enter the details of the copyright into the register of copyrights and issue a certificate of registration. 

The process registration of copyright completes when the applicant is issued the Extracts of the Register of Copyrights (ROC).

Conclusion

Creativity is the most essential requirement to enable progress in society. Encouraging creativity enables economic and social development of a society. Copyright protects the creativity of people and becomes a source of motivation for the artists, authors, etc. Registering your work with the Registrar of Copyrights provides you with the right to reproduce it, the right to adapt the work, right to paternity and right to distribute the work. 

Though it looks easy, the copyright registration process is a lengthy but important process which can take up to 10 to 12 months. It is always advisable to get your copyright registered. This is because it can go a long way in protecting your rights for years, even after your death. 

Once your copyright is registered, it becomes much easier to move to the court and get the person who illegally copied your work punished. To provide adequate protection to copyright holders, the Copyright Act, 1957 provides imprisonment from six months to three years and a fine of not less than INR 50,000 in case your right is infringed by someone.

References

  1. https://www.ipfilings.net/copyright-guide/who-can-register-a-copyright
  2. http://copyright.gov.in/Documents/handbook.html
  3. https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/copyright-registration-process-procedure/
  4. http://copyright.gov.in/Documents/CopyrightRules1958.pdf
  5. http://www.depenning.com/about_copyrights.htm
  6. http://copyright.gov.in/Documents/Check_List-WorkWise.pdf

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