What is Copyright Registration?
Is Copyright Registration Mandatory?
Matters Which are Copyrightable
- Artistic Works: Artistic works encompass a wide variety of visual expressions, such as paintings, drawings, sketches, sculptures, and photographs. Whether it’s a stunning canvas or a captivating sculpture, artists can secure their creations with copyright protection.
- Literary Works: Literary works cover a vast array of writings, including novels, poems, essays, articles, and computer programs. Authors and writers can preserve their literary contributions and prevent unauthorized reproduction.
- Musical Works: Musical compositions, including songs and instrumental pieces, are eligible for copyright protection. Composers and musicians can ensure their melodies and harmonies remain exclusively theirs.
- Dramatic Works: This category includes plays, screenplays, scripts, and choreographic works. Playwrights and choreographers can copyright their dramatic creations to retain control over their performances.
- Cinematographic Films: Films, documentaries, and videos are considered cinematographic works. Directors and producers can protect their visual storytelling through copyright registration.
- Sound Recordings: Sound recordings, distinct from musical works, refer to the fixation of sound onto a medium, like CDs or digital audio files. Record producers and sound engineers can safeguard their recordings with copyright.
- Broadcasts: Broadcasters enjoy copyright protection for their radio and television broadcasts, ensuring exclusive rights over the transmission of their content.
- Published Editions: Publishers of literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic works can copyright the typographical arrangement of their publications.
How to Copyright Artwork in India?
Definition of Artwork under the Copyright Act
Artworks for Copyright Registration
- Paintings, Sculptures, Drawings, and Photographs: This category encompasses a wide range of visual expressions, such as paintings, sculptures, drawings (including diagrams, maps, charts, or plans), and photographs. It includes both high-art masterpieces and everyday snapshots.
- Work of Architecture: It includes any building or structure with artistic character or design, or even a model for such structures. However, it is essential to note that for copyright to subsist in a work of architecture, it must be located in India (as per Section 13(2)(iii)).
- Engravings: This category comprises etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, prints, and similar works. Engravings are distinct from photographs and receive copyright protection under Section 2(i).
- Work of Sculpture: Work of sculpture includes not only the sculptures themselves but also casts and molds used in their creation (as provided under Section 2(za)).
- Work Capable of Being Used in Relation to Goods or Services: This covers any work that can be represented graphically and is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of another. Examples include brand symbols, labels, logos, packaging, and cartoons.
- Work Capable of being Registered as Design: A Copyright application cannot be filed for any design if it is already registered under the Design Act of 2000. However, if the design has not yet been registered under the Design Act, but is still eligible for such registration, its copyright application can be filed provided the design has not been reproduced more the 50 times by an industrial process by the owner of the copyright or under a license granted by him.
Artistic Work Copyright Registration Process
- Name, Address, and Nationality of the Applicant (author/owner/publisher).
- Nature of the applicant’s interest in the copyright (author or owner/publisher).
- Class and description of the artwork (e.g., Artistic work) and whether it’s used or capable of being used in relation to goods and services.
- Title of the artwork as it appears on the copy submitted with the application.
- Language(s) used in the artwork.
- Name, address, and nationality of the author, and in case of the author’s demise, the date of death.
- Status of the artwork (published or unpublished).
- Year and country of first publication, and if applicable, subsequent publications with publisher details.
- Details of various rights holders of the copyright, including assignments and licenses, if any.
- Location of the Original Work along with the name, address, and nationality of the person in possession of the work. For architectural works, the year of completion should also be shown.
- If the artwork is used or capable of being used in relation to goods or services, the application must include a certificate from the Registrar of TradeMarks, as required by the Copyright Act.
- If the artwork is capable of being registered as a design under the Designs Act 2000, the applicant should clarify whether it has been applied to an article through an industrial process, and if so, the number of times it has been reproduced. This is required as Copyright Registration won’t be applicable if the concerned artwork applicable for Design Registration has been produced more than 50 times.
- If the artwork is an adaptation of a prior work, the applicant needs to provide relevant details regarding the prior work’s copyright status and obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the copyright holder, if copyright still subsists in the prior work.
Here’s what the examination process entails:
- Formality Check: During the examination, the Copyright Office conducts a formality check to ensure that the application is correctly filled out and accompanied by all necessary documents and particulars.
- Originality Check: The Copyright Office assesses the originality of the artwork to ensure that it qualifies for copyright protection. This check verifies that the artwork is a unique creation of the author and not a copy of someone else’s work. The ultimate aim is to proceed with the registration process with a work that is copyrightable as per law.
- Prior Publication and NOC Check (if applicable): In cases of adaptations, the Copyright Office verifies whether the prior work is in the public domain or still under copyright. If copyright subsists in the prior work, the NOC from the copyright holder is checked for authenticity.
- Design Registration Check (if applicable): For artworks capable of being registered as designs, the Copyright Office verifies the details of its production process and the number of times it has been produced.
Clearance of Objections
Grant of Copyright Registration
Documents Required for Artistic Work Copyright Registration
|S.No||List Of Document for Artwork Copyright Registration|
Duly filled Form XIV, Statement of Particulars, and Statement of further Particulars, signed by the applicant
Power of Attorney signed by the applicant and duly accepted by the Attorney
No Objection Certificate from various other persons involved in the creation of work (not required if the applicant is the author of the work)
Search Certificate issued by the Trade Mark Registry, if the artwork is used or capable of being used in relation to goods or services
Affidavit declaring non-registration of the artwork under the Designs Act (if applicable)
No Objection Certificate from the publisher (if applicable)
No Objection Certificate by the person whose picture is appearing on the work
Two original & identical copies of the work
Cost of Artistic Work Copyright
Validity of a Copyrighted Artwork
- Published Artwork: For artistic work that’s been published, the copyright remains in force for the lifetime of the author plus an additional 60 years from the year of the author’s death.
- Posthumously Published Artworks: For artworks published posthumously or unpublished during the lifetime of the author, the copyright endures for 60 years from the year of first publication
- Jointly Authored Artworks: In cases of joint authorship, where multiple creators contribute to an artwork, the copyright term extends until 60 years after the death of the last surviving author.
Benefits of Artistic Work Copyright Registration
- Legal Protection and Enforcement: Registering artwork as copyright establishes a legal record of ownership, making it easier for artists to enforce their exclusive rights. In case of any unauthorized use, reproduction, or distribution of the artwork, copyright registration allows artists to take legal action against the infringing party. This protection serves as a powerful deterrent, discouraging potential copyright violations and safeguarding the economic value of the artwork.
- Public Notice and Presumption of Ownership: Copyright registration provides public notice of the artist’s ownership over the artwork. When a work is registered, it is made part of the public record, and information about the author and creation date becomes accessible. This public notice creates a presumption of ownership, making it simpler for artists to prove their authorship in case of any dispute or challenge regarding the artwork’s originality.
- Access to Legal Remedies and Damages: In case of copyright infringement, artists who have registered their artwork are entitled to certain legal remedies and statutory damages. These remedies may include injunctive relief (stopping the infringing use), monetary damages, and recovery of legal expenses. Copyright registration strengthens the artist’s position in court and enhances their ability to claim damages for any financial losses caused by the infringement.
Q1: Is copyright registration mandatory for artwork in India?
No, copyright registration is not mandatory in India to establish copyright ownership. Copyright protection automatically comes into effect as soon as the artwork is created. However, registering the artwork provides additional legal benefits and is highly recommended to strengthen the artist’s rights and enforcement capabilities.
Q2: Can I register multiple artworks under a single copyright application?
Yes, it is possible to register multiple published artworks under a single copyright application if they were created by the same author or co-authors and form separate units of one artwork as a whole. This allows artists to save time and effort while registering multiple related works.
Q3: Can I register an unpublished artwork for copyright protection?
Yes, artists can register their unpublished artworks for copyright protection in India. The copyright term for unpublished artworks begins from the date of creation and extends for the lifetime of the author plus an additional 60 years after the author’s death.
Q4: Can I modify or update my registered artwork after copyright registration?
No, copyright registration is a one-time process and cannot be modified or updated. However, if significant changes are made to the artwork, artists can consider registering the modified version as a separate copyright application.
Q5: Can I transfer my copyright ownership to someone else?
Yes, copyright ownership can be transferred to another individual or entity through a legally binding agreement known as an assignment. The assignment agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties to effect the transfer of copyright ownership.