Importance of copyright registration in India
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The article is written by Shreya Pandey from Banasthali University, Jaipur. The article analyzes the importance of registration of copyright in India and the risks involved in non-registration of copyright.

Introduction

Copyright is a collection of rights available to the creator of an original literary, dramatic, artistic, or musical work who has spent his time and effort in creating it, to protect them against theft and unauthorized uses. Such rights include the right to reproduce, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, and perform and display the work publicly. The provisions related to copyright in India are given under the Copyright Act, 1957. The main aim of copyright is to encourage and provide an incentive to the authors or creators to make or create new works. These works are available for the public to enjoy according to the will of the author or owner of the copyright. The copyright of any work provides benefits both to the author or creator as well as the public. The author receives economic rewards for creating such work and the public gets the work in the form of literature, drama, art, or music. Through the registration of a copyright, the author or creator can claim over his work to protect their work from theft or piracy. So, copyright registration provides protection from theft and also rewards the author for his work. 

Registration of a copyright

Copyright is an intellectual property providing protection to the expression of ideas. It protects creators or owners of the original artistic, literary, dramatic, cinematographic film or sound recordings from unauthorized use or copying of the work. In India. Copyright protection is provided under the Copyrights Act, 1957 where it confers protection to copyrights automatically as soon as the software code gets embodied on any tangible medium like ROM, paper, Magnetic Tape, etc. The registration of such works maintains a public record in the Register of Copyrights which includes the title’s name and author’s name in the index. Copyright notice consists of 4 elements: 

  1. The letter C in a circle or word “Copyright”.
  2. First publication year of the work.
  3. Owner’s name.
  4. “All rights reserved” at the end.

There is no formal procedure to get the acquisition of the copyright under the Copyright Act,1957. The Copyright Office provides the facility to register the work for copyright. The work is registered under the Register of Copyrights which is maintained by the Registrar of Copyrights in the Copyright Office of the Department of Education and the certificate of copyright and the entries under the Register of Copyrights would serve as prima facie evidence before the court of law. The procedure to obtain registration of copyright is provided under Chapter XIII of the Copyright Rules, 2013. The Chapter states that the application of registration should be made on Form VIII of First Schedule. There must be separate applications for registration of separate works. The application must be accompanied by the prescribed fee in the Second Schedule. The signature of the applicant or advocate should be made in application along with the endorsement of the signature of the Vakalatnama or power of attorney executed in favour of the advocate signed by the applicant. 

The protection of copyright is for a limited time period. It protects a registered work for generally 60 years. It provides protection of original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works for 60 years after the death of the author and provides protection to the cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, works of government or other international organizations, etc. for 60 years from the date of publication.

Rights under copyright registration

When a work is registered under copyright then its author or creator gets certain rights. These rights can be categorized according to their form of work. 

The rights under the registration of literary works include:

  1. The right to reproduce.
  2. The right to issue copies of the work to the public.
  3. The right to perform publicly. 
  4. The right to communicate work to the public.
  5. The right to make cinematograph film or sound recording of that work.
  6. The right to make translation in any language of that work.
  7. The right to make any adaptation of that work.

The rights under the registration of dramatic works include:

  1. The right to reproduce that work.
  2. The right to communicate work to the public.
  3. The right to perform the dramatic work before the public.
  4. The right to issue copies of work before the public.
  5. The right to convert or include the work into a cinematograph film.
  6. The right to make any adaptation of the work.
  7. The right to translate the work into any language.

The rights under the registration of artistic works include:

  1. The right to reproduce the work.
  2. The right to communicate the work before the public.
  3. The right to issue copies of that work to the public.
  4. The right to allow the work to be included in any cinematograph film.
  5. The right to make any adaptation of that work.

The rights under the registration of any musical work include:

  1. The right to reproduce the work.
  2. The right of issuance of copy of that work.
  3. The right to performance of work in the public.
  4. The right of communication of the work to the public.
  5. The right to include the musical work in any cinematograph film or make a sound recording of that work.
  6. The right to translate the work in any language.
  7. The right to make any adaptation of the work.

The rights under the registration of a cinematograph film include:

  1. The right to make a copy of the film and including a picture forming a part of the film
  2. The right to sell or hire, or offer for sale or hire, the copy of the film
  3. The right to communicate the cinematographic film before the public

The rights under the registration of a sound recording include:

  1. The right to make any other sound recording including it
  2. The right to sell or hire or offer for sale or hire the copy of that work
  3. The right to the communication of the work before the public. 

Advantages of Registration of Copyrights

  • It provides legal protection- The registration of a work under copyright would serve as evidence for proving the ownership of the work to the author which would provide legal protection to him. Sec 48 of the Copyright Act, 1957 provides a prima facie validity to the entries of the registration certified by the Registrar of the Copyrights.
  • It provides branding and goodwill to the owner- The certificate of copyright paves way for making and marketing their work and creating a brand by the quality and goodwill established in the mind of the customers.
  • It protects from unauthorized use- The copyright provides legal remedies to the owner of the copyright against unauthorized use or reproduction of the work which would be considered as a copyright infringement.
  • It provides global protection- If the copyright is registered in other countries as well then the owner would have similar privileges as it has in India.
  • It creates an intellectual property- Intellectual property is an intangible asset and registered copyright is an intellectual property that can be sold, franchised, and contracted commercially. 
  • It tracks the work to the owner- The Register of copyrights lists the owner of the work so that the work could be traced by its creator.
  • It specifies the date of publication- The registration of copyrights include the date of publication of the work due to which when any case of infringement arises then it can be easily observed because the date of the publication is the key factor while dealing cases of infringement.
  • It provides licensing the right to the owner- The owner of the copyright has the right to provide licensing easily to others. The licensing agreement is executed between the licensor and licensee only when there is sufficient proof that the work belongs to the licensor.
  • It provides remuneration and royalty to the owner- The protected work when gets translated or adapted or edited, the owner has a right to claim remuneration or royalty over such translation, adaptation, or editing. The relevant examples are the music industry and youtube where the content is copied or the songs are used and remixed or videos are made on that music.
  • It provides easy import, export, and exhibition- Registration of copyright makes import and export of works easier and the creator of artistic work can exhibit it to display or sell it.

Disadvantages of Copyright

The copyright provides protection from unauthorized use of the work but it has many disadvantages. Such as:

  1. Inability to share- The owner of the work is not permitted to allow the work use it or distribute it openly.
  2. Authorship is different from ownership- In few cases, it is possible that the author is different and the owner is different and the rights of that work are provided to the owner and not to the author. Such instances are the work of an employee where the employee is the author and the company is the author of the work. 

Risks involved in non-registration of copyright

Registration of work is not necessary to receive protection as when a work is finished which is new and original, it automatically gets protected by copyright. The registered copyright can also be sold, reproduced, and perform the work but there is a greater chance of risk in reproducing or selling the unregistered copyright before the public as the registered copyright is a proof that the owner has exclusive rights over the work but if the work is not registered then proving the ownership over the work becomes difficult and any other company can claim over that work and the actual owner would have to face the consequences of non-registering the work and protecting the work from others would be more difficult for the owner as he has no prima facie evidence to prove his ownership. The owner’s other rights are also limited if the copyright is not registered which increases the risk in the protection of the work. These limitations are:

    • Bringing suit of infringement- A suit can not be instituted for infringement of unregistered copyright. Therefore, to institute a suit for infringement of copyright it must be registered. One can only sue for an injunction to stop any person from using the copyrighted work. To bring a suit of infringement, registration of a copyright is a pre-requisite as under the Copyrights Act, 1957, it is stated that the Register of Copyrights is a prima facie evidence of the work against which the suit is instituted. 
    • Registration of a copyright is important when a person wants to raise a loan on the basis of his work. 
    • When the unregistered work is copied by someone then the owner can not file a lawsuit only because his work is unregistered and as long as the work is unregistered, the owner can not stop others from infringing his rights.
  • Damages of the suit- In a suit of unregistered copyright, the owner gets only the actual loss or potential loss and money gained by an individual using that work. While in case of a registered copyright suit, the owner can get statutory damages as well as attorney’s fee. Thus, it saves a considerable amount of money if his work is registered. 

Conclusion

Registration of a copyright is important to protect the work from unauthorized use or copying as it is a prima facie evidence to prove the ownership of the work and it also provides the owner of the registered copyright to avail the maximum benefit by licensing, assigning and raising capital. Registration is not an essential element for copyright but it protects infringement of the owner’s right. Thus, it is highly advisable to register the copyright to protect the work and extract maximum benefit from the work.

References


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