Indian Copyright Law

Ravi Singhania

  • 19/10/2016

LEGISLATION AND REGULATION
What are the main sources of copyright law?


The Copyright Act, 1957 (the “Act”), supported by the Copyright Rules, 1958 (the “Rules”), is the governing law for copyright protection in India. Substantial amendments were carried out to the Copyright Act, in May 2012.


India follows common law legal system thus relies on case laws to interpret and set precedents in law. As a result there are a number of judicial decisions that contribute to the sources of copyright law in the India.


India is a member of the Berne Conventions and Universal Copyright Convention. The Government of India has also passed the International Copyright Order, 1958. According to this Order, any work first published in any country - which is a member of any of the abov conventions - is granted the same treatment as if it was first published in India.

SUBSISTENCE OF COPYRIGHT

What type of works can be protected by copyright?

Copyright subsists throughout India in the following classes of works:

Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works; Cinematograph films; and Sound recordings.

These are the broad categories, and can be summarised as follows:

LITERARY WORKS

The term 'Literary works' covers works that are in print or writing, irrespective of the quality of style of the work. Literary work refers not only to works of prose and poetry, but anything that would be under the ambit of 'literature'. However, there will be no copyright if the work is merely a collection of words, the collection of which involved no literary skill. In India, a computer programme is treated as a “literary work” and is protected as such.

DRAMATIC WORKS

A dramatic work includes any piece for recitation, choreographic work or entertainment in dumb show, the scenic arrangement or acting form of which is fixed in writing or otherwise but does not include a cinematograph film.

MUSICAL WORKS

Musical work means a work consisting of music and includes any graphical notation of such work but does not include any words or any action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the music. A musical work need.

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