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Assignment of Copyright in India

Copyright is a unique kind of intellectual property right.  In India, the copyright act has been passed in the year 1914. A copyright helps the originator of the creative idea, expression, process and a concept to shield his uniqueness. Copyright is an exclusive right to reproduce or authorize another to reproduce artistic, dramatic, literary or musical works. In order to obtain a copyright, it is essential that a work must show a minimum level of creativity and originality. 

The work for which copyright has been obtained by the owner cannot be copied reproduced, published without the permission of the creator. Thus, the owner of the copyright has an exclusive right to assign the copyright of the work created wholly or partially to any person.

Crucial points related to Copyright Assignment  

  1. The ownership of the copyright may be transferred wholly or partially.
  2. While assigning the copyright to the third party the owner must specify the amount of copyright. The creator shall not assign or waive the right to receive royalties to be shared on an equal basis with the assignee of copyright, subject to certain conditions.
  3. In case the assignment of copyright will take place in future, then the assignment shall take effect only when the work comes into existence. In this regard, “assignee” includes the legal representatives of the assignee, if he dies before the work comes into existence.
  4. The assignment of copyright will be valid only when it is in writing and signed by the assignor or his authorized agent.
  5. The rights of the assignor in the copyright shall be diluted to the extent of the rights assigned to the third party.
  6. The assignment deed shall specify the territorial extent of such assignment. In case the assignment deed is silent, it shall be presumed to extend within India.
  7. The assignment shall further specify the assigned rights and the amount of royalty paid.
  8. The assignment agreement shall be subject to revision, extension, or termination on terms mutually agreed upon by the parties.
  9. In case the assignee fails to exercise his rights within one year from the date of assignment, the assignment in respect of such right shall be deemed to have lapsed, unless otherwise specified in the assignment deed. Further, if the period of assignment is not specified then it shall be deemed to be 5 years from the date of assignment.
  10. In case the assignment undertaken is in contrary to the terms and conditions of the rights already assigned to a copyright society to which the creator is a member, it shall be deemed void.
  11. In the case of a manuscript, the copyright is a personal property of the owner that can be transmitted by testamentary disposition.
  12. The equitable assignment is just the agreement to assign and not the assignment.
  13. After the assignment, the assignee will get the rights of- translation, abridgment, adaptation, dramatic and filmmaking in the work.
  14. To repeal the work the creator is required to give notice of the same in prescribed form to the Registrar of Copyrights or by way of public notice. As soon as the registrar will receive this notice he is required to publish it in the Official Gazette. Within 14 days of the publication, the Registrar shall post the notice on the official website of Copyright Office, so that such notice remains in the public domain for not less than three years. Such right shall cease to exist from the date of the notice.

The basic motive behind the introduction of copyright assignment is to give the benefits of ownership and distribution to the creator of the work. However, the copyright assignment cannot be used to deprive the original creator of his original creation.  


Copyright for Online Environment

Information Technology is a boon Science has given us to make ourselves easy with source of knowledge that we have around us. Internet is the source of technology has t led to proliferation of e-businesses due to its cost effectiveness, accessibility, convenience and vast user base. Internet has become great platform for Start up enterprises and Medium size businesses to efficaciously showcase its products and services.

Knowledge and information has ease of duplicating it along with anonymity   pose a continuous threat to the protection of Intellectual property rights including copyrights on the internet. Copying of trademarks, service marks protected by (Trademark Act, 1999) or Intellectual property infringements in cyberspace may comprise of any unauthorised use original music , art work, films, , multimedia, software or literary matter ( protected by the Copyright Act, 1957).

 Certain issues need to be faced by the unique matrix of the cyberspace has produced different categories of infringements including, Framing, Deep linking, Piracy of Software, Music, Video, other Digital Copyrights infringements. WIPO (World Intellectual property organization) is an international for intellectual property that have made important initiatives to bring harmonization in copyright regimes across various jurisdictions.

Protection of Computer software is done under guidelines of literary work and so are computer databases as per Section 2(o) of Copyright Act, 1957.When looking at the Original database is also protected by copyright.

Copyright issues

  • Perform and display publicly the copyright work.
  • Store the information in a tangible form.
  • Sell, rent, lease, or otherwise distribute copies of the copyright work to the public.
  • Reproduce the copyrighted work.
  • Prepare derivative works based on the copyright work.

Internet is used for browsing, downloading, uploading, file-swapping, caching, mirroring, etc. Really infringe the exclusive rights of owner. There are many results

  • Violation of the copyright owner’s exclusive distribution right.
  • Transmission of information from one computer system or network to another, involving temporary storage (RAM) of that information.
  • An appearance of a copyright image in a web browser infringing the owner’s public display right.
  • An infringement of the owner’s exclusive right to prepare derivative works.
  • An unauthorized storage of such information is a violation of the owner’s exclusive right to make copies, to reproduce the copyrighted work.

Indian Legal Provision

Some people take things for granted that they can download, reproduce and transmit on the internet. There are certain misconceptions and amounts to unauthorized downloading and infringement of the creator’s copyright. Rules and regulations are governed by IT Act, 2000.In that the section imposes a liability of up to Rs 1 crore upon a person who unlawfully downloads data. The compensation is payable to the person affected. Thus there is a radical overhauling of Indian Copyright Act, 1957 as well as the IT Act, 2000, specially the conceptual ambit, contents of rights and liability redressal.

Types of Copyright in India

Copyright is an exclusive right to any author/creator on his/her particular original work. It is form of intellectual property. Copyright entities may Literary, Dramatic, Musical notation, Software, Artistic and Copyright. It is a form of intellectual property is a legitimate idea which refers to form of protection conferred to the creator of original work. It contains expression and moral value of right and economy. Economic rights include the right to copy or publication a work or any substantial part of asset. It is a life time intellectual property.

Copyright of Literary Work

Books or Literary Work can also be copyrighted as soon as author pen down the book. It is an imperative for author with book stores mushrooming all over the place and online stores taking over the market. It prevents the stores, both online and physical, from buying or publishing copies. Books subsist itself as a copyright but still copyright registration builds an extra layer of protection. Many people might raise a question why to copyright a literary.

In case you write a story and save it on the system’s hard drive. In that case you do not have legal ownership towards the story written by you. But It is possible that I have got the same idea to write a story and co-incidentally it match with your story. Therefore to make full piece of right on the matter whether it is story, poem, book or any other literary you need to have a copyright of it. Copyright will make it your intellectual property.         

Copyright of Cinematography

Visual production of any moving object with sound is termed as cinematographic film. It needs a lot of hard work to produce cinema. Many people are associated in making films. Producer of cinema can claim copyright over it. There are certain rights provided to the producer of the film

  • To sell or resell it, to give it on hire
  • To make a copy, photograph or produce it in parts.
  • It also makes sure that the producer is the only one who has a right over taking the film to the public. However, the sound recording in the movie are not covered by the copyright of the movie.
  • Also the artistes the movie are not protected by the copyright of the film. 

People must remember that a cinematograph film can only be an adaptation of a particular literary work provided the copyright holder of the work has given his consent.

Copyright of Painting

Painting is an Artistic work which can be copyrighted. Artists or people working for an artistic work can copyright their creativity or abstract so that nobody steals their workpiece. Suppose you buy an original painting, artistic physical object etc. In that case you ‘own only the artwork’, not the copyright to it. Copyright of an object cannot be owned unless the artist signed over their copyright to the buyer. Buyers do not have the right to reproduce it and exploit it commercially. There have been laws made in many countries that follow the principle of ‘Work for Hire’ means that the work you created is an artwork of an employee of a company so the work actually belongs to the company. In case of freelancers, copyright remains with the artist. Basically this situation evolves more often when you produce original artwork for businesses and corporations.

Copyright of a Software

Copyright of Software is an extension of copyright law to machine-readable software. There are many of the legal principles and policy debates concerning software copyright to have close parallels in other domains of copyright law,

In India there are a number of distinctive issues that arise with software.

Software Developers uses Software Copyright and proprietary software companies to prevent the unauthorized copying of their software. Free and open source licenses also rely on copyright law to enforce their terms. Copyright licenses impose a duty on licensees to share their modifications to the work with the user or copy owner under some circumstances. No such duty would apply had the software in question been in the public domain.


Points of copyright to keep in Mind while remixing a song

Music notation can be copyrighted since Musician produce a unique Music by their hard work. People may copy or mix it to make their own song or music. In case you are making mash-up of your personal playlist, then your remix song could be costlier for you if a copyright holder sues you for infringement. Since, Remix songs are simply mixture and not the original work.

There certain issues faced in copyright of music

  • Reproduce work in any form,
  • Issue copy of the work;
  • Perform the work in public;
  • Make any films;
  • Sound recording in the work;
  • Translation of that work.

Read more copyright of music

There are certain points which should be kept in mind by making alteration without the previous consent of the owner.


Importance of Copyright over Trademark

We often confuse between copyright & trademark yet they have a few purposes of contrast which should be clarified before further registration. We need appropriate information about what the most ideal ways we can secure our ideas are. Knowing there are heaps of potential outcomes of your ideas being stolen by others in the market when you have something new and crisp that can undoubtedly make your business achieve the main, an appropriate comprehension of these terms appear to be fundamental. To start with the fundamental actuality must be clear in your mind that a copyright and a trademark secure are very unique.

What is a Trademark?

Trademark offers identity to a brand; it is a recognizable sign, word, outline or an expression which is utilized to distinguish the products or administrations of a dealer from those of others. A trademark helps in securing the brand name from being utilized or abused by the contenders; it also helps prevent confusion and manipulation of consumers, who come to associate with quality and attributes of a distinct brand in particular. A trademark is mostly located on the label, a voucher, or on the product itself.

What is a Copyright?

'A copyright can mean a law that gives you property rights for things you have made, be it a work of art, a photograph, a poem or a novel. The copyright law awards you possession with a various rights like:

  • The right to reproduce the work
  • The right to distribute copies
  • Right to display the work publically anywhere
  • And the right to prepare a derivative work

Advantages of Copyright over Trademark

  1. A copyright is automatic whereas a trademark has to be registered in order to get real protection.
  2. A copyright holder can keep or prevent others from utilizing his/her work while the trademark holder can't or may not keep others from utilizing the check publically.
  3. A Trademark is protected by both federal and state laws whereas in case of copyright, the laws are federal
  4. Copyrights can protect your work for the term of your life in addition to an additional 70 years. In the event of trademark, it is restricted to 10 years and has to be renewed after every 10 years
  5. Online infringement of copyright can be immediately taken care of under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, however, this is not the situation with trademarks since it has a long legal process, both government, and state.

There are similarities between the two that have a tendency to confuse individuals:-

  • Both Trademark and Copyright gives the rights to the owner to prevent others from using their work
  • Both are protected with complex laws
  • They can exist all the while in some mark or design, even in shapes, colours or sizes.


Individuals totally makes trick of themselves by blending the two and may even wind up losing the market they as of now have. One ought to know how he can ensure protect his assets or respond to someone for claiming infringement. Another reason is that one who has the information can easily take advantage of those who don’t. Utilizing the distinction can help one in taking great business choices regarding product launches or for social media strategy.

Important facts of Copyright

Copyright registration

Copyright is an intellectual property. It recognizes the exclusive rights of the creator over an original work. Objective of Copyright is to protect the territorial rights. Copyright is mainly for the artistic work like Music, manuscript, fashion, designs, film and portrait. It is also for objects like books, software, brochures etc.

Copyright is basically reservation of moment you create your original work. Copyright registration is an added advantage. Copyright also protects the unnecessary disputes and are considered as “admissible evidence” in the court of law. Copyright has a lifetime right.

Need of Copyright Registrar

Copyright registrar is the head of a Copyright office. It serves as an office of record. Copyright Minister is controlled by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. He/She is also in charge of implementation of Copyright Act. It is also the place where claims to copyright are registered and documents related to copyright are recorded. It furnishes information about the provisions of the copyright law and the procedures for making registration.

Copyright protection

Copyright protection is a form of monopoly that arises automatically at the moment author fixes the work in a tangible form. The object with copyright reserve an exclusive right. Copyright protection insurance policy can also avail by registering your work with the registrar of the copyright. It is conferred on all Original literary, dramatic, musical cinematography and sound recording works. Copyright Protection creates a public record of the work and you can then sue anyone for copyright infringement.

Copyright Infringement

Copyright Infringement is a term used for copyright protected work without permission. Copyright laws provide us a safeguard against theft of our creative works. In the case of new age of copyright, a new work is a derivative of some copyright work. There are mainly two types of assumption of infringement can be classified as primary infringement and secondary infringement.

Mainly primary infringement means that the original piece of work has been copied and the secondary infringement means that the original piece of work has either been pirated (books, etc.) or has been imported. In case of internet when someone swipes your picture/song/video from the internet and uses it for their own purposes, it is a copyright infringement.  

Copyright to Book

Books can also be copyrighted as soon as author pen down the book. It is imperative to copyright a book with bookstores mushrooming all over the place and online stores taking over the market. It prevents the stores, both online and physical, from buying a copy and publishing it copies.

Copyright for Sound recording and Film

Audio track and video can be copyrighted mainly it is recommended that you get an NOC from all the people involved in its making. Copyright also protects you from any objections thereafter. There are rules and regulations defined for the copyright on sound recording and cinematography copyright registration.

International IP Laws
International Intellectual property law is a combination of multilateral and bilateral agreements. These laws are important for the protection of trademark, copyright, and patent. Since, past few years there has…
Difference between Copyright and Patent

Copyright and Patent seems to be similar but they are different. Both of them have its different importance in business. People sometimes get confused by the term used by some intellectual property. We can say that both of them are from the same family of intellectual property. 

There are some points which can help to differentiate between Copyright registration and Patent.

Point of View

Ideas coming in mind cannot be copyrighted. A person owns an asset with legal evidence and public notice of ownership. An individual can take this matter to court for infringement of copyright provided one has the papers in place. Whereas Patent is a right, granted by the government, to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention.


Copyright is an idea which means a form of protection conferred to the creator of original work, which excludes others from using the work. Whereas Patent defines proprietary rights endowed to the inventor in which making, utilizing or trading of the invention is excluded.


Copyright contains moral values or expression of right and economy. Economic rights include the right to copy or publication a work or any substantial part of asset. Moral rights include the right to the integrity of the work and the right to be listed as its author (though this is subject to certain limitations).The patent is a moral idea for Inventors and designers for filing patents. A patent protects inventions with a new or improved function.


Sometimes a product can come into one or more of these categories. The code of the software will be protected by a copyright, whereas the functional expression of the idea will be protected by a patent.

Copyrights reserve the creative work of the artist. It also protects the ornamental design of products which can overlap whereas Patents are closely associated with things and processes that are useful in the real world. These two legal protections overlap when functional objects of distinct objects embody a distinctive or pleasing visual appearance.



Protecting an intellectual property is a very complex process that evolves with each step of the life cycle. During its innovation, research, or development. A single product can have a patentable feature, whereas a creative angle protected by copyright and a source of the product that is trademarked.

Mostly probably patents are closely associated with things and processes that are useful in the real world. But copyrights protect expressive arts such as novels, fine and graphic arts, music, phonorecords, photography, software, video, cinema, and choreography.It is possible to get a patent on technologies used in the arts.


A copyright is automatically registered does not require any formality. But in the patent, there are some formalities which are needed to be fulfilled.

Excluding people

Copyright excludes others from copying or trading the product and patent excludes others from manufacturing or using the product.


Copyright follow Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and patent follow Indian Patent Act, 2005

Time Period

Copyright is valid for the lifetime whereas Patent is provided for the limited period of time.

Sound Trademark in India

Any musical note, with or sans words can be trademarked in India. The practice of trademarking sound is popular in the West, particularly in the United States and with each passing day, the practice is picking up in India as well. Trademark Act in India provides for protection of graphical representation of sound and also those sounds which are in the form of musical notes. Once the sound as acquired distinctive sign, it is eligible to be trademarked. For a common consumer, the sound should be distinctive enough for him to relate that to a particular good service. There is no particular law which states that sound marks be excluded from registration but instances of registering a sound mark is rare, particularly in India.

There are certain clauses which how one can apply for sound mark registration.

First and foremost, the applicant must mention that the application is for sound mark registration. Otherwise in all likelihood, it will be considered a word or at best a device mark.

There must be a graphical representation of sound mark divided by measures and showing, clef, musical notes and rest all other nuances. The registration of a sound mark very well depends on whether it has become distinctive or not. The application must prove it with substantial evidence that the consumer will be able to perceive the sound as something exclusively related with a particular service.

Now that we know about what requires to be done to register a sound mark, let us also know about what all sounds cannot be registered according to the Trademark Act of India

  • All those simple pieces of music comprising just one or two notes
  • Common songs used as chimes
  • All forms of popular music already in use in entertainment industry and other services
  • Nursery rhymes for children cannot be marked for products and services aimed at children
  • Music which isclosely associated with a particular region or country for a unique set of goods or services native to that area.
Advantages of copyright registration

The author of a unique creation is provided a monopoly over his thought or product by a copyright law for the exclusive use or reproduction. Once the copyright is registered at the copyright office, the author enjoys the legal protection of his work. The moment an author produces a unique work in a tangible medium, he becomes the proprietor to have a copyright over the product but that has to be registered in the office before it is being used in the public medium, just so he can refute claims of others over his/her subject and continue to enjoy his hold over it.

As the copyright protection is done legally, it comes with certain benefits, some of which are

  • It creates a public record that the author is the sole owner of the entity that has been copyrighted.
  • It enables the copyright holder to take legal action in cases where he thinks that there has been an infringement upon his work.
  • If the copyright holder seeks legal remedies and files a complaint before the publication of the plagiarized work, the copyright on his work enables him enough evidences to produce in court in support of his argument.
  • It arms the owner to register his work with the Indian Customs so that in future, if there is a case related to the import of the infringed work, he can make a case against it.
  • Of all the good work that copyright protection does, the best one is that it keeps the authors motivated to invent unique intellectual ideas by giving them a sense of protection from infringement. In absence of such security an author might feel discouraged to think about things which are easily accessible to the public and can be copied in one form or the other. Thus encourages individuals and companies by creating a favourable environment for them.
  • It ensures economic stability for the creator by allowing him to reproduce his work or art in whichever form he deems it necessary, be it reproduction of an already existing work or translating it from one medium to another.
  • The author of the work, once he has copyrighted the work, is free to create any derivative work from the copyrighted work.
  • The author, under all circumstances, is free to sale his work to some other party and pass on the copyright to the subsequent buyer.

Once copyright is ensured on one form of the work, it stands true for any other form of work of the same art. For example, if the original form of the work was in written form and if a person wishes to reproduce it in audio-visual, he will have to sought the permission of the author of the work

Copyright infringement in India

With the arrival of printing, forgery was prevalent and hence copyright came into the scene. Modern day copyright laws provide us a safeguard against theft of our creative works. They protect our creative creations - works of literature, drama, music works, art, cinematography and even sound recordings - against defaulters and in turn give us exclusive rights to our own work -  rights to reproduce, display, distribute or perform the work that has been protected.

Copyright infringement is the use of the copyright protected work without the permission of the owner who has the copyright. Even if the new work is a derivative of some copyright work, it is assumed to be an infringement.

Infringement can be classified as: primary infringement and secondary infringement.

While primary infringement means that the original piece of work has been copied, the secondary infringement means that the original piece of work has either been pirated (books, etc.) or has been imported - either without exclusive rights to do so or into a geography not permitted. 

Common varieties of copyright infringement

Some of the following are the most prevalent copyright infringements in India

  • To make copies of copyright works for sale or hire them for our personal use without permission
  • To permit the performance of the infringed copyright works at any place of significance
  • To distribute the infringed copyright works
  • To publically exhibit the infringed copyright works
  • To import the infringed copyright works into the geographical and political borders of India

If any individual or an entity is guilty of any of the above infringements, they are liable to prosecution under the existing copyright laws in India. 

Claiming owner rights to copyright

In fields such as literature, music, dramatics and for works of art, the name that appears on the work or on the copies of the original work is by default deemed to be the copyright owner, unless it is proved otherwise. 

Remedy for copyright infringement in India

The Copyright Act, passed in 1957 and amended by the Copyright Amendment Act 2012, provides safeguards against copyright infringement in India. It incorporates three varieties of remedies: administrative remedies, criminal remedies and civil remedies.

Criminal and civil remedies are of real practical importance for us.

Administrative remedies include detention of infringing goods and it is done by the customs department. Civil remedies include damages, injunctions and account of profits.

If anyone uses your work against your wishes or in a manner not allowed by you, then you can move to the court and impose legal proceedings in the erring individual - the one who is involved in infringing the copyright you own. As a copyright owner, you can file civil remedies case in a court that has the necessary jurisdiction. You are then entitled to damages.

For your information, only a court chaired by a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate, or higher, can take up cases and try the offender for copyright infringement. That should tell you that copyright infringement is no mean deal.

In case the copyright is infringed by an entity - say a private limited company, or even a limited liability partnership - then the company and all of the people who were involved in committing the offence are  held responsible and charges can be pushed against each one of them.  

Criminal Prosecution for Copyright Infringement

One can be a criminal offender under Copyright Act if he or she deliberately infringes the copyright for personal gains. In such a case, the bare minimum punishment for knowingly infringing a copyright is jail for 6 months with a bare minimum fine of Rupees 50,000. In case an individual is convicted again, the punishment is increased to a minimum of one year jail accompanied by a fine of Rupees one lakh. 

Copyright Infringement a Cognizable Offence

What does Cognizable Offence mean? If a police officer has the rights to make an arrest and start an investigation with or without the permission of the court, it is for a cognizable offence.

Copyright infringement is a cognizable offence and a police officer - who is not below the rank of a sub-inspector - can make arrests without a warrant. Later, the copies of the infringed copies and other proofs can be presented to the Magistrate who presides over the case. 

Exceptions to copyright infringement in India

The Copyright Act 1957 exempts a few acts from copyright infringement. The term 'fair dealing had different connotations in India and abroad. Unlike the United States of America, India follows a combined approach that enables:

  • "fair use" of any copyrighted work for certain special purposes
  • certain specific commotion as mentioned in the statute

"Fair dealing" in India is limited to the purposes of

  • private or personal use, such as education or entertainment
  • criticism, such as reviewing a work of art
  • news, such as reporting of current affairs to the general public


Thus, the Copyright Law gives us enough protection, in the process enabling us to be creative without limits and without the fear of being wronged. And in case we have been, there are propositions in place to settle us with finances.

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