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Copyright

Q.What is Copyright

Copyright is a type of IPR protection that helps to protect the intellect of human creation. Copyright law provides exclusive and monopoly right to the creator/author/owner of “original” literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, cinematograph films. Computer Software is considered literary work; hence it is also protectable under copyrights.

Different Classes of Work Protected under Copyright are:

  • “Literary work”: Computer programmes, books, articles, poems, tables and databases.
  • "Artistic work”: Paintings, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan), an engraving or a photograph, whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality; a work of architecture; and any other work of artistic craftsmanship.
  • "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 not be written down to enjoy Copyright protection. Example: Written work of lyricist, composer and rights of the singer.
  • "Sound recording" means a recording from which sounds may be produced regardless of the medium on which such recording is made or the method by which the sounds are produced. Example: Sound recordings fixed in a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, USB drive.
  • "Cinematograph film" means any work of visual recording on any medium, produced through a process from which a moving image may be produced by any means and includes a sound recording accompanying such visual recording and "cinematograph" shall be construed as including any work produced by any process analogous to cinematography including video films. Example: Movies

Q: Why should one register for Copyright

Copyright comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring Copyright in India. However, certificate of registration of Copyright and the entries made therein serve as a prima facie evidence in a court of law and therefore, would help in establishing authorship and also infringement.

In case the author or the owner decides not to register, the work should be properly dated and signed. This may be useful in case of engineering drawings.

Note: In case of registered or unregistered work, the symbol “c” with circle “© “ is used along with the name of author, year of first publication on the work, to signify that work is under Copyright protection for a specific duration. If this sign is associated with any work, it means the work is Copyrighted.
Source: Copyright Office, Government of India

Q.How a creator is benefited from Copyright and its creation

Copyright owner has economic rights as well as moral rights:

i) Economic rights:
Copyright protection is a form of intellectual property which provides similar right as to the owner of Land/Home. The owner of a land can use, may give it on lease, and sell it. Similarly, 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. A Copyright owner can:

  • Make use, sell and distribute his/her work to earn economical reward: The Copyright owner can make copies of the work protected by Copyright or related right and sell the same.Examples:  Printed copies of the book and sell the same directly.
  • Assign the work (sell): The Copyright owner can assign his/her current work or proposed work to a third-party in return of onetime payment or royalty. For e.g. an author is writing a book and once fixed assigns the rights to sell the printed copies of this book to a publisher. However, for the proposed work, assignment will come into force only when the book is completed and fixed in a tangible format. The Copyright owner can completely or partially assign his/her right but this assignment is only valid if it is in written format signed by the Copyright owner or his/her legal representative. Term of assignment and extent of territory must also be specified as per the Copyright Act, otherwise by default the term of protection will be 5 years and will extend for whole of India.
  • License the work (Lease): The creator/author can license his or her work to one or more companies with certain fixed set of terms and condition in exchange for payment.

ii) Moral Rights or Author’s Special Rights:  Independent of the author’s copyright and even after the assignment either wholly or partially of the said copyright, the author of a work shall have the right:

  • To claim the authorship of the work; and
  • To restrain or claim damages in respect of any distortion, mutilation, modification or other act in relation to the said work, if such distortion, mutilation, modification would be prejudicial to his honour or reputation.

Q.What is the term of protection for Copyright

 

Term of Different Classes of Copyrights is as follows:
S.No Class of Work Term of Protection Explanation
1 Literary (including computer software), dramatic, musical photograph, and artistic Life time + 60 years. The 60 year  period is counted from the year following the death of the author The period of counting 60 year for this process starts from next year following the year in which author dies. Example: if Author dies in say 2nd Nov, 1979. So, duration of protection of 60 years period will be from 1st Jan, 1980 to 31st Dec, 2040.
Also, in case of joint author, year count for this process will depend upon the author who dies last. Example: Author X and Y are co-author of a work. Author X dies on 4th April 1988 and Y dies on 26th August 1991. So duration of protection of sixty years period will start from 1st Jan, 1992.
2 Cinematograph films, Sound recordings, Posthumous Publications, Works of Government, Work in Public undertakings and Works of international organizations 60 years  period is counted from the date of publication Date of publication is always the first publication of the work.
Period starts from the beginning of next year, following the year in which film was first published.
3 Anonymous and pseudonymous publications In case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, which is published anonymously or pseudonymously, copyright subsist until 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year next following year in which the work is first published. PROVIDED that where the identity of the author is disclosed before the expiry of the said period, copyright shall subsist until 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which author dies.
Source : The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012
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Q. What are the steps in the copyright registration process?

Copyright registration process consists of the following steps:

  • Application to be made in form XIV
  • One application to be made for each category of work
  • Every application should be signed by the author or owner of right
  • Application for registration of a computer programme should be accompanied by source code/object code
  • Application should be accompanied with the official fees
  • The person applying for registration shall give notice of his application to every person who claims or has any interest in the subject matter of the copyright
  • If no objection is received within 30 days by the Registrar, the particulars given in the application will be entered in the Register of Copyrights

Q. Is copyright registration mandatory?
No it isn’t but getting copyright registration is the best way to seek legal remedy as it serves as a prima facie evidence in a court of law, in case of any dispute arising out of copyright ownership issue. 
Q. What is exclusive license and non-exclusive license in copyright?

  • Exclusive License: It means a specific right is granted to a single owner. Licensee (individual or companies) solely has the right to use copy or distribute such work in the specific way as per the license. Example: Exclusive Right to publish a book in English is specifically given to a publisher say X in India for 10 years. However, the Publisher does not have the exclusive right to publish such book in any other language and in any other country for 10 years.
  • Non-exclusive License: Licensor can give specific rights to use copy or distribute more than one license (individual or companies). Example: non–exclusive right to sell a software CD is specifically given to two publishers say for example X and Y in India for 10 years tenure.

 

Q. What is Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) license?

When a customer purchases a pre- installed software from a PC provider (let’s say from an authorized distributor) then that Operating System package license is called as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) license. The OEM license is specific to a particular machine on which it is installed by the PC provider. Therefore, this type of licensed version of software cannot be installed on other machine by a third person.

Q.What are typical embodiments of computer software and of these features what are Copyrightable

image

Components of Software

Various Parts of Computer Software and their Protection in IPR:

S.No Various parts of Computer Software Class of protection in IPR
1. GUI (Look and Feel) Copyright
2. Source code and Object code [Computer programme / software code] Copyright (literary work)
3. Operating System: allows application software to interact with the hardware. Software code can be protected under Copyrights
4. Application Software Copyright

 

Q. What are related rights in terms of computer software

Owner of the computer programme has all rights associated with it. Computer programme can be protected in literary work under the Indian Copyright Act. In addition, other related rights are exceptionally provided to the owner of the computer programme which includes right to sell and right to rent copies. However, right to rental is not allowed for computer programme/code which is not configured as a substantial part of the object to be rented.

Example: Say X has developed a computer software, Quick SPLIT-JOIN, used to spilt large size files to small size files so that files can be easily emailed and later on, small size files can be joined together to generate the original large size file. In this case X is the author as well owner of this software and has following rights:

  • Reproduce the software in any material form and store the same in any electronic format: X can store the software in CD-ROM, DVDs or a USB drive and can also upload the software on his personal website.
  • Issue copies to public: X can provide the copies to public. For example: a CD of the software with a computer book so that any person buying the book will have the Quick SPLIT-JOIN software or by uploading the software on his/her personal website so that public can download the software from the internet.
  • To perform the work:  X can make a user guide on how to use the Quick SPLIT-JOIN software.
  • To make any cinematograph film or sound recording in respect of the work: A presentation or a simple audio recording or both can be made on how to use the Quick SPLIT-JOIN software.
  • To make any translation of the work: X can make this software in different languages for example in Chinese, Hindi and Arabic. In simple terms, X can change the supported menus and user guides, audio language and presentation-content in different languages as X wishes to.  Conversion of source code into object code is considered translation.
  • To make any adaptation of the work: X has written the Quick SPLIT-JOIN software in C++ computer language and later on decides to create this software in VC++ computer language for  integrating this software to another existing VC++ application.
  • The same rights are also applicable in case of translation or adaptation of any software work as pointed out in aforementioned points.
  • To sell, commercially rent, or offer for sale any copy of the computer programme: X has exclusive rights to sell the Quick SPLIT-JOIN software by uploading on a website, selling it online and receiving the payment online. Further, X can make a deal to some software seller and sell software on profit sharing basis. (Specifically for computer programme)

Q.How is look and feel of Graphical User Interface (GUI) protected under Copyright

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Graphical User Interface

Graphical User Interface allows a user to interact with applications of computers, mobiles, electronic equipments and the likes. Thus, GUI is an element of the program through which users can interact with various other features of the computer programme.
Copyright protects form of expression and   can be used to protect source code and the object code of a computer programme. Furthermore, computer programme is protected as a literary work by the Indian Copyright Act and hence, the look and feel of Graphical User Interface (GUI) can be protected under the Copyrights

Q. How is Database protected?

Database is a collection of records stored in a systematic way that can be best utilized. For example: Telephone directory, Yellow pages. Database is protected as literary work under Indian Copyright Act. However, some important points to consider are:

 

  • Single database may include multiple data records. Each and every data record has its own proprietary value and is evaluated as individual literary work. Therefore, each record must be protected as a single literary work.
  • When a database is used with a software application, while executing the application, information is retrieved, modified, added or deleted from the database. To perform such modification in databases, specific programming languages (eg: SQL) are available which helps in compilation of database. The manner in which the programming language commands are used can be termed as creative work. Therefore the task of compilation must be protected as a separate work.
  • Modification in original database which results in a new and better arrangement of the original database will not be considered as Copyright infringement.

Q. How are Multimedia Products protected?

Multimedia is a computer based interactive communications process that includes a combination of Writing, sound, image, still images, animation, video, computer software or interactivity content forms. On the Internet, multimedia elements are often found to be embedded in web pages. Also, modern web browsers support a number of multimedia formats. Examples of multimedia applications include World Wide Web, Adobe/Macromedia Director, Interactive TV, Computer games etc.
Copyright protection for Multimedia work:  As multimedia is a combination of different elements, the Copyright protection has to be dealt in various classes. This is detailed in the table below.

Elements of Multimedia product protected as Copyright

 

S. No. Elements of Multimedia product protected as Copyright Class of work Protection of Copyright
Original Pre-existing
1. Text Literary Work:
(a) Books, magazines, novels, newspapers on any subject matter, any novel, poetry, drama, anthology, critique, excerpts with comments and the like

 

Each original work will be protected in the literary section in a separate Copyright application form.
For eg. If the multimedia application contains some text as well as poetry, both being original, then the text and poetry both will be protected in separate Copyright applications.

Combination of a variety of elements used in the multimedia product is in digital form that enables the user to interact with the work.

More specifically, a program which is written to integrate various elements of a multimedia product will be protected as a computer program (source code and object code) on the same basis as a literary work.
Note: Term of Copyright is Life time + 60 years, period is counted from the year following the death of the author

Developers/creators should seek prior permission from the owner to use the pre-existing text/ poetry/computer program and the likes incorporated in a multimedia product.

Computer Software b)Computer Program (includes source code and object code), tables<
Computer Program can be defined as a set of ordered instructions that enable a computer to carry out a specific task.
Interactivity Content Forms Compilations

There is no clear definition of ‘compilation’ in Indian Copyright Act. However, it can be explained as a process of compiling or gathering various sources such as a set of data, a report or a collection of literary or musical works and cinematographic work that is compiled from various sources.

In terms of a computer program, compilation is the process of converting source code into executable code.

2.

Still Images

Artistic Work: A painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan), an engraving or a photograph, whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality; a work of architecture; and any other work of artistic craftsmanship.

 

Each work will be protected in the artistic section in a separate Copyright application form.

Note: Term of Copyright is 60 years, period is counted from the date of publication

Developers/creators should seek prior permission from the owner to use the pre-existing artistic work incorporated in multimedia product.

3.

Audio

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 not be written down to enjoy Copyright protection.

Sound Recordings: means a recording from which sounds may be produced regardless of the medium on which such recording is made or the method by which the sounds are produced. Example: Sound recordings fixed in a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, USB drive.

Each original musical work will be protected in the musical section in a separate Copyright application form.

Example: When the musical work is originally written by a lyricist, further originally composed by a composer and sung by a singer, then the lyricist, composer and singer all should have individual rights over the work. Hence, all three categories of work will be protected in separate Copyright application forms.

Each work will be protected in the Sound Recordings section in a separate Copyright application form.

Note: Term of Copyright is 60 years period that is counted from the date of publication.

Developers/creators should seek prior permission from the lyricist, composer and singer to use the pre-existing musical work incorporated in multimedia product.

Developers/creators should seek prior permission from the owner to use the pre-existing sound recordings incorporated in multimedia product.

4.

Animation, Video

Cinematographic Film: means any work of visual recording on any medium produced through a process from which a moving image may be produced by any means and includes a sound recording accompanying such visual recording and "cinematograph" shall be construed as including any work produced by any process analogous to cinematography including video films.
Example: Movies, Video games

 

Includes visual recording, moving image, sound recording accompanying a visual recording Example: Movies, Video games

Each of the above mentioned work will be protected in the Cinematographic Film section in a separate Copyright application form.

Note: Term of Copyright is 60 years, period is counted from the date of publication

Developers/creators should seek prior permission from the owner to use the pre-existing visual recordings and the like incorporated in multimedia product.

Q. How is multimedia different from a computer program?

The difference between a computer program and multimedia is highlighted below:

Point of difference Computer Programme Multimedia>

Definition

Sequence of instructions written to perform a specified task with a computer.
Source code and Object code

Computer based interactive communications process that includes a combination of text, audio, still images, animation, video, software or interactivity content forms.

Class

Literary which includes computer programmes, tables and compilations.

Multimedia work is defined as a compilation of pre- existing or commissioned work or other data. So Multimedia work can be protected in literary (including computer programme and compilations), Artistic, Cinematographic, Sound and Musical categories.

Term

Life time + 60 years period counted from the year following the death of the author

Term of protection is different for various elements of a multimedia product and depends on the class in which the particular element will fall.

Q.What is fair use under Indian Copyright in terms of computer software

Fair use in terms of software programme:

  • Any Software saved in hard drive/ CD-ROM/DVD or USB drive as a backup copy for personal use will be considered as fair use.
  • Making copies or adaptation of the computer programme from a personally and legally obtained copy for non-commercial personal use.
  • Using software for personal machines will be considered as fair or unfair depending on the terms of the license:
  • Depending upon the licensing details a single license on a single device is considered as fair use.
  • Installation of licensed software meant for a single machine but used on two different personal machines may not be considered fair. 
  • Downloading genuine Software from authorized link: Downloading and using software from non-genuine link/source is considered as unfair. For example, a person purchases a copy of software from a commercial group and further distributes it freely or gains commercial benefits by uploading it on a downloadable website. Source/ Link of website on which this software is uploaded will be considered as a non-genuine link.
  • Decompiling software to fix an issue is considered fair:

For example: While installing software onto a computer, a user is faced with some error. So to fix the error, user can decompile the software and resolve the issue.

Q. What is the difference between Copyright and Copyleft?

Copyright Vs. Copyleft:

S.No. Copyright Copyleft
1. Copyright right is provided to the author of the work. Author has the right to distribute, right to Copyright, to translate and right to adaptation of such work. Copyleft is like a license or an agreement for a user using the copyleft work, specifically for software. As per the terms of copyleft, any person has right to freely use, distribute, modify software code but at the same time the user must donate the modified version of the software code under similar terms and condition to freely use, distribute and modify the modified version. This kind of software is called copyleft software. Thus, Copyleft ensures:

 

  • Software available is royalty free
  • Source codes must be disclosed
  • Freedom to modify the software
  • Anybody redistributing the modified version will provide similar independence to others for freely using, redistributing, and making alteration in that software so that the whole community is benefited.

Example:GNU GPL license

2. image image

3.

Author has complete rights, thus without his/her permission nobody can use the work for commercial gains

In case of copyleft, author (developer) cannot stop others from using, modifying and redistributing as per the conditions disclosed in the GPL license.

Q.What is Digital Right Management (DRM)

Internet access, digital media and various latest technologies allows convenient access to digital content and devices thereby, hampering the rights of Copyright holders, publishers and hardware manufacturers. So Digital Right Management (DRM) provides technologies which enables authorized access to digital contents and devices. DRM prevents unauthorized duplication, modification of Copyrighted work so that monetary benefit of the Copyright owner is not affected. These technologies designed to control access and replication of online information may be used with software, music, videos and movies. DRM technologies may use encryption, scrambling of expressive material and embedding of a tag.

Q. Is there any Government agency being setup for improving enforcement measures against copyright piracy?

Ans. Yes, the Copyright Enforcement Advisory Council (CEAC) under Ministry of Human Resource Development has been constituted to seek advice from the creative copyright industries and top police officials of all States and Union Territories for improving enforcement measures to contain copyright piracy.

DISCLAIMER:

The information on this website is for information purposes only and is not a legal advice. DeitY does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information. As a result of updates and corrections, the web contents are subject to change. In case of any variance between what has been stated and that contained in the relevant Act, Rules, Regulations, Policy Statements etc. the latter shall prevail.

For any further information please visit the official websites of respective departments of Government of India.

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