The office of the Registrar of copyrights is provided under the 1957 Copyright Act who shall act on the directives of the Central government. The register of the copyright which contains names, address and other documents belonging to the copyright owners is in the custody of the registrar.
The register is to serve as a directory to the copyright owners from which members of the public with specific interest can obtain useful information on their works. Creativity is the prime mover of progress and every civilized nation must encourage and protect it.
The registration of copyright is encouraged by prohibiting any court proceeding against work infringement until such a work is registered with the Copyright office. This implies that copyright can only exist after registration.
The protection offered by copyright to artists, writers, musicians, dramatists, architects, designers and producers of sounds and much more, creates an environment where creativity thrives which in turn encourages more creations.
WHAT IS COPYRIGHT?
Copyright is the right that is provided by the law to creators of artistic, literary, musical, dramatic and sound works and producers of cinematograph films. This is a right that includes reproduction, translation, communication to the public and adaptation of the work. Some of the rights may vary on the type of work.
Copyrights safeguard the rights of owners of works by protecting and rewarding their creations.
WHY SHOULD YOU REGISTER YOUR WORK UNDER THE COPYRIGHT LAW?
Acquisition of copyright is effected once a work has been created. It is not compulsory that you register before you own a work. However, it is always advisable to get your work registered so that the documents received after registration can be used as evidence in the court if any dispute arises based on your creation. In addition to this, copyright protects your work from being replicated by anyone for a specified period.
PROCEDURE FOR REGISTRATION OF COPYRIGHT
The procedure for registration of copyright is provided in Section 44-50A of the 1957 Copyright Act which is as follows.
- The application is made on Form XIV
- Each work should have a different application for registration
- The applicant should sign the application and where applicable, should be signed by an Attorney and accepted by the advocate.
- A specified fee should be paid in any form prescribed by the Registrar of Copyrights.
- A Dairy No. will the issued by the registrar to the applicant, after which the applicant shall wait for 30 days; if any objections on the work would be received.
- If no objection is received after 30 days, the application will be scrutinized to ensure that it is free from any discrepancy and if none is found, the registration will be perfected while a copy will be sent to the copyright office to be entered in the register of copyrights.
- On the receipt of any objection, the official will write to each of the parties about the objection and schedule a hearing with them.
- The decision of the scrutinizer to either approve or reject the application will be based on the outcome of the hearing.
REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS
Section 44 provides that a Register of Copyrights shall be kept at the Copyright Office which will include works or names or titles and names and addresses of the owners of copyright and other documents that may be required.
APPROVED ENTRIES IN THE REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS
- Section 45 provides that the author or publisher or any interested person in the copyright can file an application in a prescribed form with a fee to the registrar of copyrights for the entry of documents associated with the work in the register of copyrights. If an artistic work will be used in relation to any goods, a statement to that fact shall be included in the application and a certificate from the Registrar of trademarks in accordance with Section 4 of the 1958 Trade and Merchandise Act to affirm that no trademark that is or like the work has been registered under that Act nor application for such has been made by any person or applicant.
- subsection 1 provides that the registrar of copyrights may, on the receipt of an application; enter the details of the work in the register of copyrights after an inquiry on the work may have been held as he may desire.
In the case of Glaxo operations U.K Ltd and Samarat Pharmaceuticals, AIR 1984 Del. 265., the court ruled that the copyright is in existence with or without a registration and that the purpose of registration is to prove the time the author of the work began laying claims to the work.
DURATION FOR PROCESSING OF APPLICATION
After you filed the application and must have received a diary number, you will observe a waiting period of 30 days for an objection to be received by the copyright office against your ownership of the work. If there is no objection after the 30 days period, you will be qualified to obtain a certification of copyright on the work.
SCOPE OF COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION
Published works and unpublished works can be registered. Works that were created before the implementation of the 1957 Copyright Act can be registered provided it can still enjoy copyright.
If the work to be registered is published, three copies of the work should be sent along with the application. However, if the work is unpublished, a copy of the draft work should be sent along with the application to make it possible for the Copyright office stamped to be affixed on it as a proof that the work has been registered. If two copies of the draft work are sent, one copy of the duly stamped manuscript will be returned to the owner while the other will be kept with the registrar. The work at the Copyright Office will only be open for the owner to insert other parts of the work which require the Copyright’s office stamp.
When a work which was unpublished at the time of registration is published, the applicant may apply in Form V for changes to be effected in the registered document with a prescribed fee.
A copyright can be made for any literary or artistic work including a website or a computer program. Section 2 of the 1957 Copyright Act provides that a computer program can be registered as a literary work.
INDEXES AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 46-
This section provides that Indexes of the of the register of copyrights as may be prescribed shall be kept at the Copyright Office.
REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS AS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE-
Section 48 provides that the register of copyrights shall serve as a prima facie evidence of all documents entered or extracts that have been certified by the registrar of copyrights bearing the stamp of the Copyright Office shall be admitted as evidence before all courts without requesting for further proofs to the claims.
IS COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT A CRIMINAL OFFENSE?
Yes. Section 63 of the 1957 Copyright Act provides that any person who willingly violates the copyright in any work or person has committed a criminal offense.
WHAT ARE THE PUNISHMENTS FOR INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT-
The prescribed punishment on infringement of copyright is a jail term of not less than six months with a fine of Rs 50,000. If it is the second conviction, the jail term is one year with a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
WHAT IS THE VALIDITY PERIOD OF THE COPYRIGHT?
It is valid for a minimum of 60 years and can last a lifetime and 50 years more. Note that Copyright cannot be renewed.
CIVIL REMEDIES IN PLACE FOR COPYRIGHT OWNERS
- owners can obtain court orders against an infringer.
- Infringed copies and equipment used can be seized.
- Ability to make claims for damages.
CORRECTION OF ENTRIES IN THE COPYRIGHT REGISTER
Section 49 provides that the Registrar of Copyrights may amend or adjust the Register of Copyrights based on the prescribed cases by
- Correcting any error occurring in name, address or any document therein.
- Correcting any error occurring because of omission or accidental slip.
CORRECTION OF REGISTER BY THE COPYRIGHT BOARD
In accordance with the provisions of Section 50, the Copyright Board on an application of any party of interest or the Registrar of Copyrights shall approve the correction of the Copyright register by the insertion of any document or fact omitted and the removal of any entry which was wrongly inserted. The Copyright Board can also approve for the rectification of any error which may be found in the register.
PUBLICATION OF THE ENTRIES IN THE REGISTER OF COPYRIGHT
Section 50- A provides that any entries made in the Copyright Register under Section 45 and the correction of any insertion in the Register under Section 49 and every approval for corrections under section 50 shall be published by the Registrar in the official journal.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR AN ORIGINAL WORK TO BE COPYRIGHTED?
An original work is one that is not copied from any source. The originality of the work defines the extent of knowledge, judgment, skills, capability and hard work displayed by the owner in the creation or production of the type of work.
The Copyright Act does not cover ideas but expressions only. For example, contents on your websites cannot be copied by anyone but the ideas expressed can be used for any purpose.
BENEFITS OF REGISTRATION OF COPYRIGHT
The following are the advantages of registration of copyright to the owner of the work:
- Safeguard of the owner – the owner of the copyright is protected against the copying, distribution, translation and adaptation of the work by anyone.
- Legal protection – when a work with a copyright certificate is reproduced without authorization, the owner can take legal action on the matter.
- Brand value – any work with copyrights protection cannot be used for marketing or advertising purposes by anyone.
- Global protection – irrespective of the nationality of the owner, the work with copyright in India will receive the same respect in any country and vice versa.
- Copyright is an Asset – an intellectual property is created for the owner of the copyright and is considered as a marketable asset. Note that it can be sold to earn an income.
- Owner Publicity – the owner of the work will be known across the world because of the copyright registration and can be assessed in the copyright registry database.