October 29, 2022
What is Copyright?
Controlling access to the use and distribution of certain creative works and digital content is copyright in law. In layman’s words, copyrighting is safeguarding one’s original work. Copyright laws restrict the selling and utilization of intellectual property, such as literary and artistic works, to ensure that the owner of such intellectual property has full rights to monetize his/her IP (Intellectual property).
Copyright is crucial for people as it protects them from the unfair usage of their IP and gives them the liberty to decide who can use their IP.
Through the grant of protection under the Copyright of Intellectual property, the copyright’s primary goal is to encourage and compensate writers for producing new work and making such work accessible to the general public for enjoyment and accordingly giving artists certain exclusive rights that enable them to safeguard their creative work from theft.
Although Copyright law does not require authors to make their protected works accessible, and it is also imperative that they are granted the same protection over their work irrespective of whether the work is published or not, however, copyright law does serve the goal of enhancing the wider public interest through the availability of artistic content and safeguarding such content upon publication.
The Copyright Act
In India, copyright law is governed by the Copyright Act of 1957. The Act has been in force since January 21, 1958. India’s history with copyright laws traces back to the British Empire’s colonial rule.
The Indian Copyright Act of 1847, passed by the British during the reign of the East India Company, was India’s first copyright legislation and was intended to implement English copyright regulations there. It was replaced by the Copyright Act of 1911, which extended to other British territories, including India.
It was further changed in 1914 by the Indian Copyright Act 1914, which continued in effect in India until the Copyright Act of 1957 was adopted by the parliament of independent India. According to the Copyright Act of 1957, the owner has the negative rights to forbid others from using his works in specific ways and to seek compensation for the usurpation of that right. This Act grants the owner two rights: economic and moral.
The Copyright Act of 1957 was India’s first copyright law post-independence, and it has undergone six amendments to ensure the copyright law is refined over time in conformity to the changing times. The Copyright (Amendment) Act of 2012 was the most recent amendment made in copyright law. The majority of significant international treaties controlling the field of copyright law, including the Rome Convention of 1961, the Universal Copyright Convention of 1951, and the Contract on Trade-Related Aspects of cognitive Property Rights, are signed and ratified by India (TRIPS). India originally declined to sign up for the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), but the treaty was ultimately signed in 2013.
Additionally, the 1999 International Copyright Order was approved by the Indian government. This Order accords the same status to works initially published in any nation that is a signatory to any of the aforementioned agreements as if they were published in India.
Advantages of Copyright Registration
For the reasons listed, the copyright holder must promptly register a work:
1. The ability to impose copyrights through filing a copyright infringement case: The registration certificate is prima facie proof that the creative expression is original and belongs to the person who registered it as a copyrighted work. If the copyright owner seeks an injunction against a copyright infringement, this document is crucial and necessary.
2. Control over economic rights: Copyright registration also grants the creators and artists certain economic benefits related to their IP if they have the copyright registration of their creation, such as monetization of their IP, which the owner of the IP completely controls.
3. Letting others know who owns what: In copyright disagreements, ownership is usually questioned. Even if the alleged infringer denies authorship, the owner of the copyrights must demonstrate his rightful ownership of the rights to succeed in a copyright infringement lawsuit. A public record of the ownership of a copyright is created via copyright registration. The registration record may also be helpful if a potential violator considers utilizing the work without authorization while unlawfully attempting to register a copyright claim for himself/herself.
4. Legal evidence of possession and ownership: The ability to inform the public that a certain person owns a piece of work is the copyright registration’s most significant advantage. The second most significant advantage is the subsequent legal validity it offers from a legal standpoint. Copyright registration will defend the original owner if an unauthorized third party remixes or disseminates a copyright-protected work. Additionally, the Copyright Act still supports the copyright holder’s position if they only show that the infringer had access to the raw source and that their creations are comparable as evidence of originality.
Benefits of Copyright
1. No need to renew the copyright again and again- This means that the lasting period of the copyright is about 60 years. However, if the owner has a copyright for any original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, the 60 years period is counted from the date of demise of the copyright holder. In other cases, the 60 year period is counted from the date of publication. When making modifications to the details of the assets, the person must yet go to the Registrar of Copyright.
2. Elimination of financial losses: One of the main benefits for the authors or the owners of the original works is that they have control over the distribution of their intellectual property. Limiting losses brought on by duplicating the original work is one of the benefits of copyright registration. The definition of piracy is simple; it is used to describe the violation of the copyright of a person. In India, most people are familiar with this phrase because it is regularly used in conjunction with physical goods.
3. Assists in copyright infringement : When addressing infringement issues, copyright also specifies the period of publication of the work. One of the most important things when a lawsuit for infringement is filed is to determine when the invention was first registered and when the alleged infringement first occurred.
4. Benefits via additional royalties : A copyright permits the owner to demand compensation and royalties when a trademark’s work is translated, modified, or changed. The utilization of remixed songs in music videos is common. Nowadays, YouTube is where copyright is most frequently used because there is a high chance that the artists might steal from one another, and it is important to prove who originally owned the work.
5. Helpful in transfer of copyright : Transfer of copyrights from one country to another can be executed much easier using copyright as this allows the owner to complete the process hassle-free.
6. Safeguards your original creation : Copyright serves as a top layer of protection to safeguard the ownership of a person’s creativity. Since creativity is the foundation of development, no civilized society can disregard the necessity of fostering it. Creativity is a necessary component of a society’s economic and social development.
It is very important to have your intellectual property safeguarded by owning the copyright of it and having proof of your possession just in case anything goes off or there is any conflict associated with the ownership of the IP. Copyright also helps clarify if there is any unjustified utilization of your IP without your permission. In this modern era, it is very important to safeguard your creation from theft and misuse.