Unlike trademarks and patents, registration of copyright is optional. Under Indian law (and in most other legal systems), copyright comes into existence the moment a work is created. However, from an enforcement perspective, registration is often preferred.
In the absence of registration, a third party can claim that a particular work that a business is using was created much earlier by the third party. There is also a chance that records kept by the creator may not be considered reliable by enforcement authorities or courts. Further, it is important for a business to be in a position to avoid unnecessary litigation (or to be able to dismiss it as baseless), even when a third party’s claim is unfruitful, particularly where intellectual property is an essential part of the valuation of the business.
A certificate of registration of copyright is considered a prima facie evidence of date of creation of the document and the creator of the document, as these particulars are filed with a statutory authority, i.e. the Registrar of Copyrights at the time of registration.
Step 1 – Filing the application for registration
Application for registration must be made in Form XIV (of the Copyright Rules) to the Registrar of Copyrights in triplicate, at the following address:
Registrar of Copyrights, B.2/W.3, C.R. Barracks, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi- 110 003, Tel: 338 4387.
Registration can be done either through online or the forms with requisite forms can be sent through speed post/registered post. Online registration of copyright can be done at: http://copyright.gov.in/UserRegistration/frmLoginPage.aspx.
In the case of an unpublished work, an applicant may send a copy of its manuscript, or only the extracts. The Copyright Office affixes its stamp on the document which is evidence of registration. If two copies of the manuscript are sent, one copy will be returned with the seal. The other copy will be retained by the Copyright Office for record-keeping purposes. Confidentiality of the manuscript will be maintained.
If an unpublished work that was registered is subsequently published, changes can be made to the registered particulars by filing Form V.
The application must be filed with the appropriate fee (See Annex A). Three copies of the published work must be sent along with the application.
Note: Under the copyright act, even unpublished works can be registered.
Step 2 – The person applying for registration shall give notice of his application to every person who claims or has any interest in the subject-matter of the copyright or disputes the rights of the applicant to it.
Step 3 – If the Registrar of Copyrights is satisfied about the correctness of the particulars given in the application and no objections are received within 30 days of filing the application, the copyright will be registered.
If objections are received, or if the Registrar believes that some of the particulars are incorrect, he may conduct an inquiry and only enter those particulars which he considers as correct.
If copyright is registered, the Registrar of Copyrights sends a copy of the entries made in the Register of Copyrights to the concerned parties.
“person applying for registration shall give notice of his application to every person who claims or has any interest in the subject-matter of the copyright or disputes the rights of the applicant to it.”
In light of the above, how can confidentiality of an unpublished work be maintained? How can you identify the person or ascertain that a person has a claim or interest in the subject-matter of the copyright or disputes the rights of the applicant ?