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Essay on the nature and subject matter of copy right

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Areas covered by copyright

(i) Artistic work:

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Artistic Work’ means a painting, sculpture, a drawing, an engraving or photograph

(ii) Dramatic work:

‘Dramatic Work’ includes any piece for recitation, choreographic work or entertainment

(iii) Literary Work:

The term ‘Literary Work’ refers to any literary writings, as well as computer programs, tables, compilations and computer databases

(iv) Musical work:

‘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

Rights of an owner of a Copyright:

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to either do or authorize the doing of any of the following:

(i) To reproduce the work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means

(ii) To issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in publication

(iii) To perform the work in public, or communicate it to the public to make any translation or adaptation of the work

(iv) To sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire a copy regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions

Assignment of Copyright:

The owner of the copyright can assign the copyright either fully or partially or subject to limitations. The term of assignment can also be specified. Rights of future work can also be assigned. Such rights are however effective only after the work comes into existence.

Term of Copyright:

The normal term of a copyright is throughout the lifetime of the author plus 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year following the year in which the author dies. In case of joint authorship, the author who dies last will be considered.

Registration of Copyright:

Copyright need not be registered. However, given the issues of infringement, it is advisable to register. More often than not the issue of proof of originality of the work is difficult to resolve. A copyright registration would negate the need for such proof as the certificate and all the information contained therein is considered sufficient.

Infringement of Copyright:

The Act provides for remedies in case of infringement of copyright, which is considered a civil as well as criminal offence.

As was the case with China, India too showed signs of resistance to quick enforcement of international intellectual property right (IPR) protection laws as demanded by the developed countries, particularly the US.

China could get away on grounds that it is not a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), but India was required to comply. Under the terms of the WTO, India is required to implement WTO-standard IPR protection laws by 2005. It must be acknowledged that there has been remarkable progress in IPR protection the field of software and cinema products.

India’s general argument was that it does acknowledge in principle the case for strict IPR protection, but this can be done only in phases suited by its own ground reality. The reality is that absence of international IPR protection for some decades has spawned employment for millions, so an overnight clampdown on IPR violators would foment social unrest.

However, under pressure from its own domestic industry and the United States, India strengthened its copyright law in May 1994, placing it at par with international practice. The new law, which entered into force in May, 1995, fully reflects the provisions of the Berne Convention on copyrights, to which India is a party.

Based on its improved copyright protection, India’s designation as a “priority foreign country” under the United States’ Special-301 list was revoked and India was placed on the “priority watch list.” Copyright enforcement is also rapidly improving.

Classification of copyright infringements as “cognizable offenses” expands police search and seizure authority. While the formation of appellate boards under the new legislation should speed prosecution, local attorneys indicate that some technical flaws in the laws, which require administrative approval prior to police action, need to be corrected.

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