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In this article, Akanksha Mathur of National Law University, Delhi discusses how to file various copyright applications and the procedure for accessing facilities provided by the Copyright Office.

With the advent of intellectual property, laws related to copyright have become more important than ever. As the creator of any intellectual property, it is important to understand what a copyright is, how it is issued, what rights are conferred by it and where one can get it issued.

What is a Copyright?

A copyright is the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material. It is a form of intellectual property protection available for original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form, whether published or unpublished. The categories of works that can be protected by copyright laws include paintings, literary works, live performances, photographs, movies, and software.

Copyright law does not cover the actual concepts, ideas, techniques, or facts in a particular work, but rather protects their form of material expression. Because of this, a work must be tangible to receive copyright protection.

Laws Governing Copyrights in India

Indian Copyright Act, 1957

Copyright law in India is governed by the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. It came into effect from January 1958 and has been amended six times since then to-

  • Bring it in conformity with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
  • To protect the music and film industries
  • To protect the author of any work
  • To address the concerns of the physically disabled
  • To remove operational facilities
  • For the enforcement of rights.

Copyright Rules, 2013

The Copyright Rules of 2013 had been issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Union Government in the exercise of the powers granted to it by Section 78 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957.

It succeeded the Copyright Rules of 1958 and provided a guideline for the functioning of copyright laws in India.

What can be Copyrighted?

A copyright protects the form of expression of original works of authorship. Things which can be copyrighted include-

  • Literary works
  • Musical works, including any accompanying words
  • Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphics, and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works

These categories are to be viewed in a broad sense as they have also been expanded to include other things, such as computer programs, maps, architectural plans etc.

Things which cannot be copyrighted include-

  • Works not given a tangible form of expression
  • Works containing common property information that do not contain original authorship.
  • Titles, names, short phrases and slogans
  • Symbols or designs that are familiar
  • Variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring
  • Listings of ingredients or contents

Rights of a Copyright Owner

The Indian Copyright Act confers copyright protection to original works of authorship under Section 13 and vests these with the owner.

Copyright protection is given in terms of the-

  • Economic Rights of the Author

Economic rights are conferred upon the author of an original work under Section 14 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. These are

    • For literary, dramatic and musical works

      • to reproduce the work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means
      • to issue copies of the work to the public
      • to perform the work in public or communicating it to the public,
      • to make any cinematograph film or sound recording in respect of the work
      • to make any translation or adaptation of the work.
    • For computer programs

      • to reproduce the work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means
      • to issue copies of the work to the public
      • to perform the work in public or communicating it to the public,
      • to make any cinematograph film or sound recording in respect of the work
      • to make any translation or adaptation of the work
      • the right to sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire any copy of the computer program regardless whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions
    • For artistic works

      • to reproduce the work in any material form, including depiction in three dimensions of a two-dimensional work or in two dimensions of a three-dimensional work
      • to communicate or issues copies of the work to the public
      • to include the work in any cinematograph work
      • to make any adaptation of the work.
    • For a cinematograph film or a sound recording

      • to make a copy of the film including a photograph of any image forming a part thereof
      • to sell or give on hire or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the film
      • to communicate the film to the public.
    • For a painting, sculpture, drawing or of a manuscript of a literary, dramatic or musical work

      • to make a copy of the film including a photograph of any image forming part thereof
      • to sell or give on hire or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the film
      • to communicate the film to the public.
      • to share in the resale price of such original copy provided that the resale price exceeds rupees ten thousand.
  • Moral Rights of the Author

    The author is also accorded moral rights to his work under Section 57 of the Indian Copyright Act. These are-

    • The Right of Paternity

      This refers to the right of an author to claim authorship of a work and prevents others from doing so.

    • The Right of Integrity

      The right of integrity is provided to the authors of an original work to empower them to prevent the distortion, mutilation or alteration of their work, along with any other action in terms of that work which would be prejudicial to their honour or reputation.

Is it Necessary to Register a Work to Claim Copyright?

No, it is not necessary to register a work to claim a copyright. A copyright is acquired as soon as a work is created and no formalities are needed to be undertaken in order to acquire a copyright.

However, a certification of registration of a copyright is important as it has the ability to serve as primary evidence in any dispute related to the ownership of a copyright in a court of law.

Regulatory Authorities

Two regulatory authorities have been set up to regulate the registration of copyrights in India and handle the disputes related to them. These are-

  • The Copyright Board of India

The Copyright Board is a quasi-judicial body set up under Section 11 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. It is responsible for the task of adjudication of disputes related to copyright registration, assignment of a copyright, grant of license for works that are to be withheld from the public, unpublished Indian works, production and publication of translations and works for certain specified purposes. It also hears other miscellaneous cases in matters instituted before it.

  • The Copyright Office

The Copyright Office was set up under Section 9 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. It was put under the immediate control and supervision of the Registrar of Copyrights.

How To e-File an Application

To file an application to file an application for copyright registration, visit http://copyright.gov.in/UserRegistration/frmLoginPage.aspx and register yourself as a new user. An application can be filed by filling up Form-XV, the SoP and SoFP and paying the required fee.

A checklist of the particulars that an applicant should keep in mind while filing an application can be found here.

How To Find Out Whether Your Application Has Been Accepted Or Rejected

After an application has been filed and a diary number has been allotted, the status of the application can be checked at http://copyright.gov.in/frmStatusGenUser.aspx.

Status of Copyright Application

The Copyright Office also publishes a list of the applications received by it, the applications that are awaiting further work and the applications due for a hearing online on its website as well.

What Are The Charges For Filing An Application?

The Copyright Office charges a fee for issuing compulsory licenses as well for filing any application.

S.No Application/Compulsory License Fee
1 For a license to republish a Literary, Dramatic, Musical or Artistic work (Sections 31, 31A,31B* and 32A) Rs. 5,000/- per work
2 For a license to communicate an any work to the public by Broadcast(Section 31(1)(b)) Rs. 40,000/- per applicant/per sataton
3 For license to republish a Cinematograph Film (Section 31) Rs. 15,000/- per work
4 For a license to republish a sound recording (Section 31) Rs. 10,000/- per work
5 For a license to perform any work in public (Section 31) Rs. 5,000/- per work
6 For a license to publish or communicate to the public the work or translation (Section 31A) Rs. 5,000/- per work
7 For a license to publish any work in any format useful for person with disability (Section 31 B) Rs. 2,000/- per work
8 For an application for a license to produce and publish a translation of a Literary or Dramatic work in any Language  (Section 32 & 32-A ) Rs. 5,000/- per work
9 For an application for registration or copyright in a:
(a)Literary, Dramatic, Musical or Artistic work Rs. 500/- per work
(b)Provided that in respect of a Literary or Artistic work which is used or is capable of being used in relation to any goods (Section 45) Rs. 2,000/- per work
10 For an application for change in particulars of copyright entered in the Register of Copyrights in respect of a:
(a)Literary, Dramatic, Musical or Artistic work Rs. 200/- per work
(b)Provided that in respect of a literary or Artistic work which is used or is capable of being used in relation to any goods (Section 45) Rs. 1,000/- per work
11 For an application for registration of Copyright in a Cinematograph Film (Section 45) Rs. 5,000/- per work
12 For an application for registration of change in particulars of copyright entered in the Register of Copyrights in respect of Cinematograph film (Section 45) Rs. 2,000/- per work
13 For an application for registration of copyright in a Sound Recording (Section 45) Rs. 2,000/- per work
14 For an application for registration of changes in particulars of copyright entered in the Register of Copyrights in respect of Sound Recording (Section 45) Rs. 1,000/- per work
15 For taking extracts from the indexes (Section 47) Rs. 500/- per work
16 For taking extracts from the Register of Copyrights (Section 47). Rs. 500/- per work
17 For a certified copy of an extract from the Register of Copyrights of the indexes (Section 47) Rs. 500/- per copy
18 For a certified copy of any other public document in the custody of the Register of Copyright or Secretary of the Copyright Board Rs. 500/- per Copy
19 For an application for prevention of importation of infringing copies (Section 53) per place of entry Rs. 1,200/- per work

Facilities Provided by the Copyright Office and How to Access Them

The Copyright Office provides for e-filing of applications on its website.

  • The Registration of a Copyright

The registration of a copyright is not mandatory, but can be done to ensure that no one else uses it, and to safeguard the author’s efforts in the future. A copyright is registered by the Copyright Office under Section 45 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957.  

  • An application needs to be made to the Copyright Office under Form-XIV, along with the attachment of the following documents-
    • Four copies of the artwork
    • Applicants details of name, address and nationality proof
    • Nature of interest of the work of the applicants
    • Work title
    • Authors details and death certificate in case of the death of the author
    • First Publication date, place, publishers name, etc.
    • NOC from the trademarks registry
    • Power of attorney on Indian stamps paper
  • After the application is filed, along with the fee, a diary number is issued and a mandatory 30-day waiting period is instituted for the filing of objections.
  • The work is then scrutinised by the examiner for discrepancies. If no discrepancy is found, the application is sent for approval to the Deputy Registrar of Copyrights.

The online application form for the registration of a copyright is available here.

  • The Registration of Changes in the Particulars of a Copyright

Rule 71 of the Copyright Rules, 2013 provides for the registration of changes in the particulars of a registered copyright.

To register changes, an application is required to be made under Form-XV to the Copyright Office, along with the attachment of the following documents-

    • Original Power of Attorney, if the application is filed through an attorney
    • Notarized copy of the Deed, if any (For example, a deed of assignment/partnership/dissolution etc.)
    • An affidavit attesting that no case is pending in any court of law relating to the Registration Of Changes in question
    • Attested Copy of the Death Certificate if the original copyright holder is deceased
    • Notarized Copy(ies) from Extract of ROCs along with the Works

The online application form for the registration of changes in the particulars of a copyright is available here.

  • The Relinquishment of a Copyright

A copyright can be relinquished by the author under Section 21 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957.

An application needs to be made under Form-I to the Copyright Office along with an affidavit specifying the extent of relinquishment of rights by the author.

The online application form for the relinquishment of a copyright can be found here.

  • A Proforma for any Discrepancy in a Copyright

A proforma is issued by the Copyright Office in case of the following discrepancies in the registration of a copyright-

  1. Under Rule 70 (3) of the Copyright Rules 2013, that application for registration of a copyright can be signed by the author/owner only. It does not provide for an attorney to sign an application, including the Statement of Particulars (SoP) and the Statement of Further Particulars (SoFP) on behalf of the applicant. This requires the resubmission of Form XIV, along with the SoP & SoFP duly signed by the applicant.
  2. If Para 2 of Form XIV is incomplete, the applicant is required to send notice by registered post copies of Form XIV, SoP & SoFP to other parties concerned under Rule 70 (9) of the Copyright Rules, 2013.
  3. If the application for registration, SoP & SoFP are not submitted in the prescribed format, another copy must be submitted.
  4. If the Name/Address/Nationality of the applicant is not furnished.
  5. If it is not clarified whether the applicant is the author/publisher/owner/assignee of the work being copyrighted.
  6. If the appropriate class of the work is not indicated.
  7. If the title of the work as it appears on the work itself is not reflected. The work to be registered for copyright must have a title which should be short and should correspond to the work.
  8. If the language of the work mentioned does not correspond to the language actually used in the work. For revision, all the languages used in the work must be mentioned.
  9. If Col.7 of SoP is incomplete, it is necessary to furnish the Name/Address/Nationality of the author (artist/photographer). If the author is deceased, the date of death must be mentioned, along with a notarized affidavit regarding inheritance of right(s) /NOC from all the legal heirs of the deceased author in favour of the applicant.
  10. If it is not indicated whether the work is published or unpublished at the time of applying for a copyright.
  11. If the year/country of first publication/name/address/nationality of the publisher has not indicated.
  12. If the year/country of subsequent (last) publication/name/address/nationality of the publisher has not been indicated.
  13. If the name, address and nationality of the person who holds the various rights comprising the copyright in the work are not furnished, they are required to be mentioned. In case the applicant himself intends to hold all the rights in the work, his particulars as already given against Col.2 may be mentioned. In case the applicant is a partnership firm, the names of all the partners and their respective shares in the copyright may be indicated.
  14. If the author intends to authorize other people to assign or license the copyright on his behalf, the name, address and nationality of such person may be indicated.
  15. If Col. 13 has been left incomplete.
  16. As per Rule 70 (6), a Search Certificate from The Trademarks Registry is mandatory if the artistic work is to be used or is to be capable of being used in relation to any goods, irrespective of whether a trademark is registered or not. Otherwise, it must clearly be stated in Col.14 of SOP that the work is neither used nor is it capable of being used in relation to any goods.
  17. If the work is not identical with the work attached with the Search Certificate, 5 copies of the work identical in respect of size/colour/design are required to be furnished.
  18. If the name/address/nationality of the person whose photograph appears on the work is not intimated. If that person is someone other than the applicant, a No Objection Certificate, in original may be obtained from that person [from heir(s) if the person is deceased/from the guardian in the case of minor] and forwarded to the Copyright Office.
  19. A Firm itself cannot be the author of a work. Details of the person who has actually created the work must be furnished under Section 2(d) of the Copyright Act, 1957.
  20. If the author of the work is someone other than the applicant, a No Objection Certificate, in original from the author is required, clearly indicating that he has no objection if the copyright in the work is registered in the name of the applicant. In case the author is partner/proprietor/employee of the applicant firm, the same may be clarified.
  21. As provided under Section 15 of the Copyright Act 1957, please intimate if your work is already registered or capable of being registered under Designs Act, 2000. If not, please file an affidavit to the effect that the work is not registered/applied for registration under the Designs Act.
  22. If the work is published by a person or a firm other than the applicant, a No Objection Certificate, in original, may be obtained from that person/firm and forwarded to this office.
  23. If a lesser number of copies of a work than required are submitted, the remaining number of copies are to be submitted.
  24. If the Statement of Further Particulars (SoFP) is not filled in properly.
  25. If the Power of Attorney (POA) has not been submitted or is not in order, it has to be submitted on stamp paper duly accepted by attorney/signed by the applicant. Incomplete POA is returned herewith.
  26. In Col. 15 of SoP details have to be given whether it is registered under Design Act, 2000.
  27. In Col. 16 of SoP if an artistic work is registered under the Design Act, details have to be given on whether it is applied to an industrial process, and the number of times it has been reproduced.
  28. If it is mentioned in Col. 14 of SoP that work is not capable for use on goods but it seems to be capable of being used on goods, Form TM 60 from the Trademark Registry must be provided, along with the submission of the difference of fee (i.e. Rs.2000-500 = 1500/-)
  29. In case of the Sound Recording & Cinematograph category, if a copy of the agreement is not provided, a No Objection Certificate from various copyright holders is required.
  30. As per the Rule 70 (5) for registration of Computer Programme or Software, the applicant has not provided source code and object code.

These discrepancies are to be removed within 45 days, or the application is considered to be abandoned.

The online proforma can be found here.

Complaint Redressal Machinery Of Copyright Office And How To File Objections

Whenever an application is filed with the proper details, it is published on the website of the Copyright Office for a mandatory period of 30 days. Within this period, an objection can be filed with the Copyright Office through post or email.

If an objection is received, the application is remanded for hearing in front of the Registrar of Copyrights in order to give both parties an opportunity to present their side of the dispute. The issue is then decided by the Registrar.

If any complaint still exists, the decision of the Registrar can be appealed to by filing an appeal in front of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board of India.

References

  1. http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l195-Copyright-Law-in-India.html
  2. http://copyright.gov.in/documents/handbook.html
  3. http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/intellectual-property/what-may-be-covered-by-copyrights.html
  4. http://copyright.gov.in/Default.aspx
  5. https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Copright-Registration-Process-Flow.png

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