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Dr. Anil Pethe

What is Covered by Copyright?

Copyright is concerned with protecting the work of the human intellect. The domain of copyright is the protection of literary and artistic works. These include writings, music, and works of the fine arts, such as paintings and sculptures, and technology-based works such as computer programs and electronic databases. Copyright protects works, that is the expression of thoughts,

and not ideas.

Berne Convention specifies that the expression 'literary and artistic works' shall include every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression, such as. The expression such as opens the door to creations other than the ones set out in the list. For example, court decisions, in different countries, have protected material such as: private letters, a divorce guide, a haircut, a floral decoration of a bridge, examination papers.

Derivative works
These are works that are derived from other, existing sources. Examples of derivative works include: Translations of works into a different language; Adaptations of works, such as making a film scenario based on a novel; Arrangements of music, such as an orchestra version of a musical composition initially written for piano; Other alterations of works, for example an abridgement of a novel; Compilations of literary and artistic works, such as encyclopedias and anthologies. In such a case, the originality resides in the choice and arrangement of the materials.


Before embarking in a derivative work, you must respect the rights of the author of the initial work. For example, an author who wishes to translate a novel into a foreign language should seek proper authorization from the author of the novel that will be translated. Making the translation without proper authorization would expose the translator to the risk of being sued for copyright violation.

Types of rights under copyright

Economic rights, Which allow the owner of rights to derive financial reward from the use of his works by others The Right of Reproduction The Right of Performance The Right of Broadcasting The Right of Communication Moral rights, Which allow the author to take certain actions to preserve the personal link between himself and the work. Right of authorship Right of Respect

The Right of Reproduction

The Right of Reproduction is the key, which incidentally is reflected in the word copyright. The right of reproduction would, for instance, cover the printing of books & photocopying too It also covers more modern methods of reproduction such as tape recording and the copying of tape recordings. It covers the storage of works in computer memories & of course the copying of computer programs on diskettes, CDROMS, CD- writeable ROMS and so on.

The right of the owner of copyright to prevent others from making copies of his works is the most basic right For example, the making of copies of a protected work is the act performed by a publisher who wishes to distribute copies of a text-based work to the public, whether in the form of printed copies or digital media such as CD-ROMs. Likewise, the right of a phonogram producer to manufacture and distribute compact discs (CDs) containing recorded performances of musical works is based, in part, on the authorization given by the composers of such works to reproduce their compositions in the recording. Therefore, the right to control the act of reproduction is the legal basis for many forms of exploitation of protected works.

The right of performance

You perform a work when you play a tune, for example, or when you act on stage, and over the year that right has given rise to a number of other rights, such as the right of broadcasting and the right of communication to the public, the latter being sometimes defined differently in various national laws: broadcasting may actually form part of communication to the public, or they may be linked parallel concepts, but typically all kinds of communication will be covered, broadcasting being one, but cable distribution could be another, and Internet distribution another again.

Rights of Public Performance, Broadcasting & Communication to the Public

A public performance is considered as any performance of a work at a place where the public is or can be present, or at a place not open to the public, but where a substantial number of persons outside the normal circle of a family and its closest social acquaintances is present. On the basis of the right of public performance, the author or other owner of copyright may authorize live performances of a work, such as the presentation of a play in a theater or an orchestra performance of a symphony in a concert hall.

Public performance also includes performance by means of recordings; in such places as discotheques, airplanes, and shopping malls.


The right of broadcasting covers the emission by wireless means for members of the public within range of the signal, whose equipment allows reception of sounds or of images and sounds, whether by radio, television, or satellite. When a work is communicated to the public, a signal is diffused by wire or cable, which can be received only by persons who have access to equipment connected to the wire or cable system.

Moral rights

Right of authorship It is basically the right to have your name mentioned, for instance when the work is reproduced. If you have written a book, then you have a right by law to have your name mentioned as its author and also to be named when the work is used, We cant expect a disc jockey in a discotheque to announce the composer, lyric writer, arranger and so on for every record he plays; If you play a work at a concert a classical concert of modern music - the composer would clearly be entitled to have his name mentioned in the program. indeed for all works in principle, we must name the author.

Moral rights
Rights of Respect, (Right to object to the work) Being distorted or used in contexts that are prejudicial to the honor and literary and artistic reputation of the author. The author can for example oppose the use of his work in a pornographic context, if the work is not pornographic in itself. And he can oppose the distortion of the work in such a way that its cultural or artistic integrity is adversely affected.

Transfer of Copyright
Many creative works protected by copyright require financial investment and professional skills for their production and further dissemination and mass distribution. Activities such as book publishing, sound recording or film producing are usually undertaken by specialized business organizations or companies, and not directly by the authors. Usually, authors and creators transfer their rights to these companies by way of contractual agreements, in return for compensation. The compensation may take different forms, such as lump sum payments, or royalties based on a percentage of revenues generated by the work.

The transfer (or assignment) could affect all the economic rights or only some of them (partial assignment). For example, an author of a novel written in English could sell to a publisher his reproduction and distribution rights, as well as his translation rights and his adaptation rights in the novel. But the author may choose to proceed otherwise: he may decide to split the rights he has between different persons. Thus the author of a novel may assign or transfer his rights to publish and reproduce the novel written originally in English to one publisher. He may assign the right to translate the novel into, say, French, Russian and Arabic to three other publishers. In addition he may assign the right to adapt his novel into a film (or an opera or a play) to other persons.

Indian Copyright Act, 1957

India has a very strong and comprehensive copyright law based on Indian Copyright Act. 1957 It was amended in 1981, 1984, 1992, 1994 and 1999 (w.e.f.January 15, 2000). The amendment in 1994 were a response to technological changes in the means of Communications like broadcasting and telecasting and the emergence of new technology like computer software. The 1999 amendments have made the Copyright Act fully compatible with TRIPS Agreement. & fully reflects Berne Convention. The amended law has made provisions for the first time, to protect performers rights as envisaged in the Rome Convention. With these amendments the Indian Copyright law has become one of the most modern copyright laws in the world.

Procedure for registration of a work under the Copyright Act,1957

Copyright comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring copyright. However, facilities exist for having the work registered in the Register of Copyrights maintained in the Copyright Office of the Department of Education. The entries made in the Register of Copyrights serve as prima-facie evidence in the court of law. The Copyright Office has been set up to provide registration facilities to all types of works and is headed by a Registrar of Copyrights and is located at B.2/W.3, C.R. Barracks, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi-

What is the term of protection of copyright?

The general rule is that copyright lasts for 60 years. In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the 60-year period is counted from the year following the death of the author. In the case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government and works of international organizations, the 60-year period is counted from the date of publication.

Which are the common copyright infringements?

Making infringing copies for sale or hire or selling or letting them for hire; Permitting any place for the performance of works in public where such performance constitutes infringement of copyright; Distributing infringing copies for the purpose of trade or to such an extent so as to affect prejudicially the interest of the owner of copyright ; Public exhibition of infringing copies by way of trade; and Importation of infringing copies into India.

for the purpose of research or private study, for learning and teaching in a classroom. for criticism or review, for reporting current events, in connection with judicial proceeding, performance by an amateur club or society if the performance is given to a non-paying audience, and the making of sound recordings of literary, dramatic or musical works under certain conditions.


The Olympic copyright dispute of DD News Channels & other News Channels
National broadcaster Doordarshan has issued notice to major Indian news channels for unauthorized broadcast of the Beijing Olympic Games for which only DD has exclusive broadcast rights in India. DD had paid about $ 3 Million for the exclusive Indian broadcasting rights. Apparently DD had entered into licensing agreements with all the sports channels but had not entered into such agreements with any of the news channels. As per DDs own guidelines news channels are allowed to broadcast either 10 seconds continuously or 2 minutes for an entire day. However one of the news channel has shown the entire opening ceremony

Copyright dispute over Harry Potter condoms (Robert Clarkson on August 23, 2010 11:00 AM )

Swiss paper Bote reports that Warner Brothers has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Harry Popper condoms for copyright infringement. "The image of my client is in danger," a Warner brothers lawyer is quoted as saying. "This is clearly a reference to the film and fictional character of Harry Potter. Everyone who sees the condoms automatically thinks of Harry Potter." The condoms seem to have become quite popular since going on sale in 2006. A Facebook fan page has even been created to promote their benefits. The Harry Potter brand name has been valued at around 15bn & lawyers for both Warner Bros and author JK Rowling have earned a reputation for tenaciously fighting to protect it.

The 3 Idiots Copyright Controversy


Bhagat entered into a contract with the production house (Vinod Chopra Films Pvt Ltd), under which he assigned all rights in any audio visual format of the book or its adaptation to the production house.

2. As consideration, Bhagat was to be paid a certain sum of money (totaling about Rs 11 lakhs or so). The facts appear to indicate that he was paid this sum in full . 3. Bhagat was also promised credit in the film. Since this clause (Clause 4) is critical, I reproduce it below: "It shall be obligatory on the part of the Producer to accord credit to the author in the rolling credits of any audio-visual moving image software (of any format or form in any media or medium) produced by the Producer in terms of the exercise and execution of the Rights granted .

Sophia Stewart wins the Matrix copyright infringement case

Sophia Stewart an African American who claimed to be the author of The Matrix will finally receive her just due from the copyright infringement of her original work, as the copyright case is finally settled in court. A six-year dispute has ended which involved Sophia Stewart, the Wachowski Brothers, Joel Silver and Warner Brothers. Sophia Stewarts allegations, involving copyright infringement Sophie Stewart had filed her copyright infringement case 10 years ago, in 1999, after viewing the acclaimed movie Matrix, which she felt had been based on her manuscript, The Third Eye, copyrighted in 1981. In the mid-eighties Stewart had submitted her manuscript to an advertisement placed by the Wachowski Brothers, requesting new sci-fi works, which could be later made into a movie.

A Bollywood film producer has vowed to fight a US lawsuit

Vipul-Shah said he was truly baffled at the case against the distributors of his film Singh-is-Kinng, which was filed by the American Rights Management Company in a New York court. Singh is Kinng, a comedy starring Akshay-Kumar and Katrina Kaif, with music by US rapper Snoop-Dogg, hit screens more than 18 months ago and did well both in India and abroad, earning some $108 million. American Rights Management Company) are reacting two years later and that, too, over a DVD, which is rarely heard of, is surprising, he added. The plaintiffs allege that Singh-is-Kinng is similar to a 1929 short story by Damon Runyon, Madame La Gimp, which inspired the 1933 film Lady for a Day that earned Frank Capra a Best Director Oscar nomination

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