What is copyright?

  • Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic and many other kind of works.
  • Copyright covers books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings.

Who is the owner of copyright?

  • (Section 54) Owner of copyright

        Owner of copyright shall include an exclusive licensee and in case of an anonymous or pseudonymous work the owner is the publisher of the work until the identity of the author is out in public.

  • (Section 61) Owner of copyright to be party to the proceeding:-

      In every civil suit or other proceeding regarding infringement of copyright instituted by an exclusive licensee, the owner of the copyright shall be made a defendant and he shall have the right to dispute the claim of the exclusive licensee and where any civil suit is instituted by an exclusive licensee is successful, no fresh suit in respect of the same cause of action shall lie at the instance of the owner of the copyright.

What are the rights of the owner of copyright?

  • (Section 56) Protection of separate rights

        Where several rights are owned by different persons, the owner of any such right shall be entitled to the remedies provided under this Act and may enforce such right by means of any suit without making the owner of any other right a party to such suit, action or proceeding.


The plaintiff was the legal representative of Maulana Azad, who supplied his book to  Humanyun Kabir for its translation and narration. The plaintiff had received 50% royalty for 30 years giving the copyrights to the publisher. The court restrained the plaintiff from challenging the validity and the plaintiff was not granted injunction to stop the publisher from publishing the book even after the term was over.

  • (Section 58) Rights of owner against persons possessing or dealing with infringing copies

        All infringing copies of any work in which copyright subsists, and all tools used or intended to be used for the production of such copies, shall be deemed to be the property of the owner of the copyright, who accordingly may go for the recovery of possession thereof or in respect of the conversion

        Provided that the owner of the copyright shall not be entitled to any remedy in respect of the conversion of any infringing copies, if the opponent proves was not aware and had no reasonable ground to believe that copyright subsisted in the work was infringing copies and if that he had reasonable grounds for believing that such copies or tools do not involve infringement of the copyright in any work.

What amounts to copyright infringement?

  • (Section 51) When copyright infringed

     Copyright in a work shall be deemed to be infringed when any person, without a licence granted by the owner of the Copyright or the Registrar of Copyrights contravenes with the following:-

  • (i) Does anything against the exclusive right of the author.
  • (ii) Permits the use of any place for profit for the performance of the work in public where such performance constitutes an infringement of the copyright.
  • (iii) Makes or offers for sale or hire, or distributes the material either for the purpose of trade or to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright.
  • (iv) By way of trade exhibits in public or imports into india any infringing copies of the work.

What does not amount to copyright infringement?

  • (Section 52) Certain acts not to be infringement

The following acts shall not constitute an infringement of copyright :

(i)         Fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purposes of research or private study, whether of that work or of any other work.

             Chancellor Masters & Scholars of the University of Oxford v. Rameshwari Photocopy Services [2016 (68) PTC 386 (Delhi)]

            The case revolved around a petition moved by the noted publishers Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis in 2012 in the Delhi High Court and the court had banned a popular photocopy shop located in Delhi University’s North Campus.

            The publishers had complained that the photocopy shop was violating their copyright and causing financial losses to them. The publishers had also claimed that students now didnot buy textbooks, preferring to simply purchase or copy relevant chapters.

            Delhi University had, at the time, protested against the ban, claiming that students were doing this only for only for educational purposes.

             Finally the court in its judgement held that the students are free to photocopy as much of any text as they like.

  1. ii) A fair dealing with a work for the purpose of reporting current events in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, or by radio-diffusion or in a cinematograph film or by means of photographs.

               (iii) The reproduction of work for the purpose of a judicial proceeding or for the purpose of a report of a judicial proceeding.

(iv) The reproduction or publication of work prepared by the Legislature or, where the Legislature consists of two Houses, by either House of the Legislature, exclusively for the use of the members of that Legislature.

(v) The reproduction of any work in a certified copy  supplied in accordance with any law for the time being in force.

(vi) The reading or recitation in public of any reasonable extract from a published literary or dramatic work.

(vii) The publication in a collection is bona fide if intended for the use of educational institutions.

(viii) The reproduction of a work by a teacher in the course of instruction or in answers to such questions the performance in the course of the activities of an educational institution.

 (ix) The making of records in respect of any work, if records have previously been made with the licence or consent of the owner of the copyright in the work and the person making the records has given the prescribed notice of his intention to make the records.

(x) The causing of  utilising a record at any premises where persons reside, as part of the amenities provided mainly for residents therein, or as part of the activities of a club, society or other organisation which is not established or conducted for profit.

(xi) The performance of work by an amateur club, if the performance is given to a non-paying audience, or for the benefit of a religious institution.

(xii) The reproduction in a newspaper of an article on economic, social or religious topics, unless the author the article has expressly reserved to himself the right of such reproduction.

(xiii) The publication in a newspaper or other report of a lecture delivered in public.

(xiv) The making of not more than three copies of a book under the direction of the person in charge of a public library for the use of the library if such books are not available for sale in India.

(xv) The reproduction, for the purpose of research or private study or with a view to publication, of an unpublished literary, dramatic or musical work kept in a library, museum or other institution to which the public has access.

(xvi) The publication of any matter which has been published in any Official Gazette except an Act, such publication if reproduced or published together thereon or any other original matter.

(xvii) The publication of a translation in any Indian language of an Act and of any rules or orders made if no translation shall be made in that language as previously been published by the Government;

(xviii) Translation of such Act in that language has been produced or published by the Government, if the translation is not available for sale to the public.

(xix) The making of a painting, drawing or photograph of an architectural work of art;

(xx) The publishing of a painting, drawing or photograph of a sculpture, or other artistic work falling if such work is permanently situated in a public place or any premises to which the public has access.

               (xxi) The inclusion in a cinematograph film of any artistic work permanently situated in a premises to which the public has access and if such inclusion is only by way of background and is used by the author of an artistic work.

(xxii) The making of an object in three dimensions of an artistic work in two dimensions, if the object would not appear, to persons who are not experts in relation to those objects of that description, to be a reproduction of the artistic work.

(xxiii) The reconstruction of a building with the architectural drawings or plans by reference to which the structure was originally constructed.

 (xxiv) In relation to work recorded or reproduced in any cinematograph film, the exhibition of such film after the expiration of the term of copyright therein identifying the work by its title or other description and unless the work is anonymous or the author of the work has previously agreed or required that no acknowledgement of his name should be made.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *