Ridhima Purwar, Symbiosis Noida Samkit Jain, NLU Jodhpur

Editor: Varshita Girish, Christ Institute, Bengaluru


It is a basic human nature to treasure one’s possessions. Since my mind is only mine, any creation or idea nurtured in my mind should also be my possession. This principle is in line with the theory propounded by Robert Nozick who states that the product of my labour is my own and no one else should benefit from it. [1]

The scope of Copyright covers within it all kinds of literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, cinematographic films, sound recordings, however, for protecting brand names, logos, discoveries or other such assets, the person has to apply for either a trademark or patent. The ambit of copyright extends only to those novel uses of the brain, the product of which are the result of an artistic nature.


In Amar Nath Sehgal v. UOI,[2] SC talks about the ‘Paternity Rights’ that flow from copyright. Just like the owner of any property enjoys certain rights flowing from the ownership, the necessity of a Copyright stands from the additional rights which the person should benefit from. This necessity cannot be overstated, so much so that it has been incorporated in the US Constitution.[3] It is considered necessary for procuring copyright as it allows the owner to license out the use of their work which acts as an additional source of income. In the absence of such rights guaranteeing protection, people would not be incentivized which would hinder the creative growth in the country. It is necessary to avoid duplication of someone else's work which might be done intentionally or unintentionally. The rationale behind this is ‘Your Work is an Asset’ which means that any creative work or even an idea is a potential asset, just like any other tangible asset, over which the owner has certain rights.


The governing law in India regarding copyrights is the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. In India, a Copyright is valid for the lifetime of the author/artist and a period of 60 years, commencing from the year next to the year of death of the holder of the right. The Act provides for two aspects vis-a-vis Economic & Moral Rights.


The author of Copyright enjoys economic rights under S.14 of the Act[4]. Different works are provided different types of protection but majorly, these rights relate to reproducing the work in any form, such as storing the work in some form, issuing copies (print or in three/two-dimension), depiction in front of the public or hiring or selling of the work.


These rights are provided for under S.57 of the Act[5]. These rights are further classified as Paternity and Integrity Rights

  • Paternity Rights

This right can be understood as the Right to possession which an owner has over his property. Just like an owner has the right to enjoy his property and prevent anyone from trespassing on his property, similarly, the holder of a Copyright can claim authorship over their work and prevent others, who might want to cut a slice for themselves out of the monetary benefits from claiming ownership.

  • Integrity Rights

These rights protect the owner from what can be called vandalism against his property. The owner is granted protection against any mutations or distortions to his creation or any other such action since the consequences of such alterations may be a prejudice to the reputation of the creator.


To claim a copyright, the following three conditions need to be satisfied:

  1. Fixation - The idea or creation should be fixed in some form of tangible expression.

  2. Originality - The work, irrespective of the quality, should be the creation of the person(s) applying for the copyright.

  3. Creativity - Some level of creativity, which makes the work stand apart from anything already in existence is expected.


Keeping in mind the protection of the author/artist’s right and encourage creativity, the Apex Court has held in People’s Insurance Co. v. Benoy Bhushan[6] that apart from the place where the cause of action arises, the place where the plaintiff resides or carries on business or personally works for gain also holds jurisdiction over such matters.


The procedure of copyright registration is mentioned under Chapter X of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and Rule 70 of the Copyright Rules, 2013 which lays down a three-step to the procedure to obtain a copyright.


The author of the work, applicant, copyright claimant, owner of the exclusive right of the work or an authorized legal representative can apply for obtaining the copyright. The application is either to be filed in a physical manner that is in the copyright office or through speed registered post or even through the e-filing option which is available on the official website of the copyrights office. A separate application is to be filed for each work with the information about the work itself. Along with this, a requisite fee is also to be paid and different types of work have a different application fee.


Once the application is filed by the applicant a diary number is received by them for their application. After that, a waiting period of a minimum 30 days is followed in which the application is scrutinized and if any discrepancy is found then a hearing is called upon by the registrar. This period is also open for any objections to be raised against the claim of copyright and if any objection is made, then a hearing is called upon where both the parties are allowed to make a better claim of copyright. Later as per the scrutinization and the decision of the registrar, the application moves to its final step.


When the application moves past the scrutinization of the registrar, the applicant might be asked for more documents regarding the work. Once the registrar is satisfied with the completeness and correctness of the copyright claimed by the applicant the registrar of copyright shall enter the particulars of the copyright and the work into the register of copyrights. Further, the registration is said to be complete when the registrar issues a Certificate of Registration to the applicant by which the three-step process is completed.


The copyright protection laws in India have come a long way and interpret the term not only in its traditional sense but also in its modern sense. India has recognized the importance of such rights to cultivate creativity in the country and provides a robust mechanism for encouraging them. The amendment made to the Act in 1994, has played a major role in advancements before which there were various instances of exploitation and loophole wherein the length of the search procedure made it possible for the wrongdoer to cover their tracks.

There is still a long way to go for India to reconcile it with the IT Act, 2000 and remove any technical barriers which could be used as a loophole, but it is safe to say that the situation is under control and does not call for any serious actions as of now.

[1] Ross MacDonald, JSTOR: A History20047Roger C. Schonfeld. JSTOR: A History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2003. 412 pp., ISBN: 0691115311 US$29.95 (hardback), 22 The Electronic Library 84-85 (2004), (last visited Jul 3, 2020). [2] (2005) 30. PTC, 253 (India). [3] U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, Art 1. [4] Copyright Act, 1957, No.14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India). [5] Id. [6] A.I.R. 1943 Cal.199 (India). [7] Copyright Infringement - Intellectual Property - India, (2020), (last visited Jul 3, 2020).

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