Posted on: September 26, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Author : Ashish Nagpal, Student at Fairfield Institute Of Management And Technology, New Delhi.


Copyright may be a sort of property that provides its owner the prerogative to form copies of an ingenious work, usually for a limited time. Copyright is meant to guard the first expression of thought within the sort of an ingenious work, but not the thought itself.

Copyright is covered under scope of intellectual property law which aims at protecting of the original works of authors which further may include literary, dramatic, musical and also artistic works like poetry, novels, movies, songs, software relating to anything, architectural designs etc..

Copyright is covered under the umbrella of Intellectual Property Rights in India. Copyright was recognized after discovery of the Press in the 15th Century which in turn made it possible to reproduce works. Copyright further is protected for a specified period of time after which it is considered as to be a published domain and further available for reproduction .The tenure of copyright is available for a lifetime plus for a period of 60 years[1]. The essential thing for a copyright is that it should be in written  form and a mere idea is not considered under the definition of Copyright. In short it safeguards the expression of the idea and not the idea itself. Copyright is an absolute right of copying or reproduction of the work of which the right of copyrighting is retained .It further is a set of absolute ownership rights given to the author or creator  of an original work which includes the right to duplication , distribute and adapt to a work in relation to the literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, cinematics and sound records as such.[2]

To certify a work for protection under copyright laws, the work must be original. The term originality here refers to the assertion of the idea and not of any thought, Further the definition of originality differs from country to country but in it’s basic meaning it signifies that the work was an independent creation and it doesn’t derives it’s source from anywhere else. Copyright  protection works irrespective of the creative element of any quantity or quality , for example :- a drawing of a 4 year old can receive absolute protection under laws relating to copyright too and it does not requires any specific literary or artistic merit in itself.

Laws relating to copyright in India are protected by The Copyright Rules, 2013 . The earlier law for governing the copyright rights was The Copyright Act, 1957 which got effected from 21January 1958 and got amended 6 times further and the latest one is known to be as Copyright Amendment Act, 2012 and the International Copyright Order,1999

The case of Delhi University’s Rameshwari Photocopy Service Shop has been quite a landmark judgement in this regard[3], The Delhi High Court in September 2016 in it’s landmark ruling said that: “Copyright especially in the field of literary works is not a divine, inevitable or natural right which confers to the author an irrevocable ownership of their creation. Rather it is made to stimulate activity and further to make advancement for the intellectual enrichment of people”.


Laws relating to Copyright protects a wide range of works under it’s scope[4], Nearly all of the national laws for copyright provides safeguard to the following types of works :

  1. Literary works such as catalogs, instruction manual, books, trade journals, newsletters etc.
  2. Musical works such as songs, opera, musicals
  3. Computer Programs such as software and original databases
  4. Works relating to applied arts for instance wallpapers, carpets, artistic jewelry etc.
  5. Motion Pictures which includes films, documentaries, television advertisements etc.
  6. Commercial prints, labels advertisements etc.
  7. Technical Drawings, Globes, Maps , Charts of specific kind etc.
  8. Photographics such as photos etc.
  9. Dramatic works such as dance, plays etc.

1. Derivative Works

Derivative work is defined as the work which is based is upon existence of one of the works that are already existing works, and it is copyrightable even if does not satisfy the definition of the “Original work of the authorship”[5]. The example is that the painting of Mona Lisa  which is although in public domain and also can be retraced by anyone too. However if someone painted a new painting of Mona lisa which will have been made with some distinguishable characteristic then this work and can be copyrighted if it takes some level of creativity by the author. An exact Photograph or drawing of Mona lisa is therefore not protected but derivations that took creativity are protectable.

2. Architectural Works

In earlier days it was not possible to Copyright a building , only the plan used to make the building can be copyrighted. This in turn lead to many interesting lawsuits where people copied other building’s structure but it was not proven until it was not shown that it has similarities with the plan too[6] which is a difficult process in itself. The branch of Copyright Protection Rights of 1990 itself provided for the buildings to be copyrighted as a whole without any objection

3. Vessel Hulls[7]

This is a special type of copyright where one individual is able to able to protect the design of a boat that he may have made or designed. The Copyrighting of the design of the boats was made possible by the emergence of Vessel Hulls Design Protected Act which came up in 1998. This type of Copyright for a boat would lasts for a period of 10 years.

4. Semiconductor Chip Mask Works

Although this type of copyright protection is different from that of a usual copyright but the form and the process involved for it are same as that of a copyright. The Semiconductor Chip Protection Act1984 come up with the conservation for the designs of semiconductor chips. The whole process of this is administered by the copyright office itself.


Related rights and Copyright[8] does the same work and they safeguards works relating to the different classifications of people. Copyright aims at protecting works of authors whereas related rights which is also quite similar to copyright in it’s application are the rights given to only few classes of people for their important role in communicating and disseminating some type of work to the public. For instance in the case where a song is finished, then copyright here protects the music which is right under the composer who has created it and the words of the writer whereas the concept of the related rights could apply on the performances of these musicians and singers who perform this song , further the various types of related rights are :-

  1. The Singers and the Musicians who are involved in the performance of this song
  2. the sound recordings of a producer , where the song is involved
  3. the broadcast program of the organization which makes this program further containing the song.

There are 3 types of remedies available to infringement of copyright provisions in India namely ; civil remedies, criminal remedies and the administrative remedies.[9]

Civil Remedies

The various civil remedies for the copyright infringement are covered in the section 55 of the Copyright Act of 1957:

  1. Interlocutory Injunction

It is granted to provide interim relief to the plaintiff during the pendency of suit. Generally Interlocutory Injunction is sought ex parte i.e in the absence of defendants. The various laws relating to injunction has been further defined in the Specific Relief Act, 1963.The various requirements for the grant of Interim Injunction can be summarized as follows :-

  • A Prima Facie case
  • Balance of Convenience
  • Irreparable Injury
  1. Pecuniary Remedies

These are further classified into 3 types of pecuniary remedies which are available for the plaintiff and these are further mentioned in Section 55 and the Section 58 of the Copyright Act of 1957, these are :-

  • Proper account of the profit that is made by the unlawful conduct to allow the owner to seek the money made by the accused
  • Another way it to provide compensation to the person whose copyright right have been infringed which would be further based upon the degree of the infringement and damage done
  • By providing conversion value for the article whose right has been violated here
  1. Mareva Injunction

Mareva Injunction further a part of the Interlocutory Injunction. The purpose of Mareva Injunction is to restrain the defendant from disposing of the assets which may be required to satisfy the Plantiff’s claim[10]. In this case, the court has the power to direct him to a place wholly or any part of the property under the court’s disposal as may be sufficient to satisfy this decree. It is further given under Order XXXVIII, Rule 5 of the CPC, 1908.

Criminal Remedies

These are used less then the Civil remedies and under the Copyright Act, 1957. The Criminal Remedies are distinct and independent of other remedies and can be availed simultaneously to stop further Infringement or to punish the offender These remedies are more effective then the civil one. Section 63 to 70 of the Copyright Act, 1957 deals with such offences the following criminal remedies are provided for infringement :-

  • Imprisonment of 6 months which may further extend to 3 years
  • Penalty extending to Rs. 2 lakhs but not less than 50 thousand
  • The infringing goods further can be searched for and be seized too once obtained
  • Returning of the Infringing Goods to the true owner of respective goods

The provisions of the Copyright Act shows that the position of Copyright protection in India is quite strong and are also effectual enough in taking care of concerned person’s Copyright. The provisions of the copyright law here not only takes the view of the traditional sense in which copyright but also upon the modern approach. To meet the ever increased demands and challenges as are posed by the changes circumstances and the latest technology , the online copyrights issues are also protected , Although they are not properly described or are in clear terms but they have been evolving ever since. The Latest Copyright laws therefore are considered to have been containing all the facets of the Copyright laws. More achievements can be achieved in the applicability of the Copyright laws by applying purposely interpretation techniques which requires the existing laws to be interpreted in such a manner that the justice is done regarding the facts and the circumstances of the case.

Also, the present laws can be amended such as to the requirement of the situation. The existing laws can be replaced by new and improved laws which deals with the contemporary issues and the problems. The Information and Technology Act, 2000 requires a new outlook and orientation which can be used effectively against the various problems which are encountered by the IPR regime in this modern age of Information and Technology.

The judiciary of our country should play an active role in the protection of these rights till the situation of IPR is improved considerably in our country. The present situation is however nor considered to be as alarming as it is perceived and the legal system of our country can effective take care of the problem posed before it.




[3]University copying books for teaching is not copyright violation: Delhi HC by Aakash Jian, The Hindu

[4]Article on what can be copyrighted


[6]Section 63 and 63A ,Copyright Act 1957

[7]Law relating to Intellectual Property Rights by Virender Kumar

[8]Indian Journal of Research, Survashish Sarkar, SSN-2250-1991

[9]Copyright Law by Craig Joyce

[10]Section 17, Copyright Act 1957

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