1. What is a copyright? Explained in the easiest way!
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This article is intended to serve as an information resource for authors as well as the general public about what copyright is. Government officers and general public are requested to refer to the Copyright Act, 1957 (as amended from time to time) and the Copyright Rules, 1958 (as amended from time to time) before taking any action with reference to copyright registration and infringement. Copies of the Act and Rules may be obtained from the Controller of Publications, Government of India, Civil Lines, Delhi- 110 054.
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This article tries to explain briefly what is a copyright. what a copyright infringement is. Give readers info about the concerned office. What covers in the laws. Definition of copyright, a very brief idea about copyright vs trademarks and patents, duration of copyright protection, what is intellectual property etc.
What is copyright?
It is a right given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work.
Importance of protection of copyright.
It ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity. Creativity being the keystone of progress, no civilized society can afford to ignore the basic requirement of encouraging the same. Economic and social development of a society is dependent on creativity. The protection provided by copyright to the efforts of writers, artists, designers, dramatists, musicians, architects and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films and computer software, creates an atmosphere conducive to creativity, which induces them to create more and motivates others to create.
Copyright in a work is considered as infringed only if a substantial part is made use of unauthorizedly. What is ‘substantial’ varies from case to case. More often than not, it is a matter of quality rather than quantity. For example, if a lyricist copy a very catching phrase from another lyricist’s song, there is likely to be infringement even if that phrase is very short.
2. Scope of protection in the Copyright Act,1957
The above mentioned act protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings from unauthorized uses. Unlike the case with patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the ideas. There is no copyright in an idea.
Does copyright apply to titles and names?
No, it does not ordinarily protect titles by themselves or names, short word combinations, slogans, short phrases, methods, plots or factual information. it does not protect ideas or concepts. To get the protection, a work must be original.
What are the classes of works for which copyrights protection is available in India?
Copyright subsists throughout India in the following classes of works:
- Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works;
- Cinematograph films; and
- Sound recordings.
Is it necessary to register a work to claim copyright?
No, acquisition of copyright is automatic and it does not require any formality. It comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring the same. However, certificate of registration and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to dispute relating to ownership of copyright.
3. What is defamation?
Under Indian law, defamation is both a criminal (punishable with imprisonment) as well as civil (punishable through the award of damages) offence. Defamation is defined under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”).
The Section provides that whoever by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible, representations makes or publishes any imputation concerning any other person intending to harm, or knowing or having reasons to believe that such imputation will harm the reputation of such person, is said to defame that person (unless it falls within one of the stated exceptions).
Criminal defamation is punishable with a fine and/or with imprisonment and is a personally liable offence. In recent years, the number of suits filed in Indian Courts where the complainant has alleged defamation has increased exponentially with some being settled out of court and a few others leading to certain matters not being published.
The Supreme Court of India has as recent as May 2016 (in the decision of Subramanian Swamy vs. Union Of India, Ministry of Law & Ors), held that the right to reputation is an inextricable part of the constitutional right to life and criminal defamation is a means through which the State sustains and protects the reputation of an individual. It may be implemented to copyright in many ways as required and applicable under copyright act.