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Short essay on the Origin of the copyright act in India

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The Act identifies an author, who can be given monopoly to exploit his work for a limited period of time (which is presently life plus 60 years)[5]. In absence of any statutory requirement for registration to entail copyright protection, the moment a work is created or produced, copyright subsists in it.

Moreover, it is a negative right i.e. it is prohibitory in nature- it prevents others from copying or reproducing the work. What is important is that the work should be a literary work, it should be fixed in a medium and it should be original in order to get copyright protection. According to Sec 13 of the Act copyright protection subsists in:

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(a) Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works.

(b) Cinematograph films

(c) Records

Traditionally, civil and common law countries have differed in their approach towards copyright law, due to which there exists a divergence in the objectives of these systems. In modern complex society, provisions have been made for protecting every man’s copyright, whether big or small, having high degree of originality or not.

The word ‘original’ means first in order or which has served as a pattern of which a copy or translation is made- first hand, not imitative, novel in style, character or inventive.

However, Copyright law does not ask for originality of ideas, but in expression of thought in case of ‘literary work’. However the degree of originality required in a work is of more than trivial or minimal level.

Though originality is not mandated by the Act unlike U.S or UK, yet the sine qua non of copyright is originality.

Though the low threshold of originality is universally recognized in order to ensure dissemination of knowledge, there exists varying standards of originality in different jurisdictions, primarily due to divergent of objective of copyright laws in these countries.

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