Term of copyright protection

  • Setindiabiz Team
  • April 23, 2023
Online Term of Copyright Protection in India
Copyrights grant protection to original works of art, literature, music and cinematography, both published and unpublished. Their term of protection varies according to the type of intellectual properties being protected. In this blog, we have specified and explained the term of Copyright protection for all types of intellectual properties created in India.
Copyrights play a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of creators over their original works. So, understanding the duration of copyright protection is quite essential to determine the period for which creators have the exclusive rights over their works and the subsequent period from which these works will be available in the public domain.
The duration of Copyright Protection varies depending on several factors, such as the type of work being protected, the status of its publication, and the applicable laws under the Copyright Act. It is within this period that creators have the freedom to prevent unauthorized use or infringement of their work, monetize their work by negotiating licensing agreements with third parties, and build their reputation as a creator in the market.

Factors on which the Term of Copyright Depends

The duration of copyright protection is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It varies based on several factors, each playing a role in determining the span of time during which creators enjoy exclusive rights over their works. Let’s delve deeper to understand these key factors in a little more detail.
Factors on which the Term of Copyright Depends

1. Type of Work

The nature of the creative work itself is a significant determinant of its copyright duration. Different categories of works, such as literary, artistic, musical, and cinematographic works, may have distinct copyright terms. For instance, a literary work may have a different duration of copyright protection compared to a musical composition or a film.

2. Authorship and Collaboration

The identity of the author or authors of a work can also impact the copyright term. In cases of collaboration, where multiple individuals contribute to the creation of a single work, the term of copyright protection may be influenced by factors like the joint authorship, individual contributions, and agreements between the creators.

3. Date of Creation or Publication

The timing of the creation or publication of a work plays a crucial role in determining its copyright duration. Copyright laws often define specific timeframes, such as the year of creation or publication, as the starting point for calculating the duration of validity.

4. International Copyright Agreements

International copyright agreements and treaties also shape the copyright duration in a given country. Countries may align the provisions of their copyright protection terms with the minimum standards set forth in the agreements they are party to, ensuring a level of harmonization and protection for works across borders.

Term of Copyright Protection

Now that we are aware of the factors affecting the term of Copyright Protection in India, let’s understand the exact terms one by one.
In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work, the term of copyright extends throughout the lifetime of the author or artist plus sixty years after his death. This period of sixty years is calculated from the year following the death of the author or artist. However,  In case of joint authorship work, this period of sixty years shall be counted at or immediately before the date of death of the author who dies last. In case of posthumous works, that is literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic works which are published after the author’s death, the sixty years period is calculated from the date of first publication 
Whereas the work is Cinematographic works, Sound recording, photograph, Government work, international work the copyright is protected for sixty years calculated from the year following the date of its publication. If the works are posthumous, then these sixty years will be calculated from the date of creation. Apart from these, the Broadcaster’s reproduction rights are protected by copyright for 25 years following the year in which the broadcast is made, and the performer’s rights are protected for 50 years following the year in which the performance is done.
S.No Copyright in relation to Term of Copyright
Literary Work Artistic Work Dramatic Work Musical Work (Published)
Life of Author + 60 Years After Death
Literary Work Artistic Work Dramatic Work Musical Work (Posthumous)
60 Years After the First Publication of the Work
Anonymous Works, Photographs Cinematographic Film, Sound Recordings Government Work (Published)
60 Years from the end of the year in which the work was first published
Anonymous Works, Photographs Cinematographic Film, Sound Recordings Government Work (Unpublished)
60 Years from the end of the year in which the work was first created
Broadcasts made by the broadcasting organizations
25 Years from the end of the year in which the broadcast was first made

Understanding the validity term of copyrights in India is vital for both creators and consumers alike. It ensures that creators are granted exclusive rights over their works for a specified period, allowing them to control their creations and reap the rewards of their artistic endeavors. Simultaneously, it strikes a balance by eventually opening up creative works to the public domain, fostering innovation and collective cultural enrichment.

By staying informed about copyright laws and actively participating in discussions surrounding copyright duration, we can contribute to a fair and balanced system that supports and respects the rights of creators while promoting the free flow of knowledge and artistic expression.



The duration of copyright protection in India varies depending on the type of work. For literary, musical, and artistic works, copyright protection typically lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 60 years from the year following the author’s death. In the case of cinematographic works, the duration is 60 years from the year of the first publication.
In general, copyright protection in India cannot be extended beyond the initial duration prescribed by law. However, it is important to consult the Copyright Act and any relevant amendments for specific provisions related to extension or alteration of copyright terms for exceptional cases or specific works.
Once the copyright term expires, the copyrighted works enter the public domain. This means that they are no longer subject to exclusive rights and can be freely used, reproduced, distributed, and adapted by the public without the need for permission or payment. Works in the public domain are considered part of our shared cultural heritage.
Yes, there are certain exceptions to copyright duration in India. For example, anonymous or pseudonymous works, government works, works of international organizations, and works created by corporations or government bodies have different copyright terms. Additionally, copyright protection for photographs, posthumous works, and sound recordings may also have specific provisions.
Yes, copyright protection can be transferred or assigned to another party through a written agreement, typically known as a copyright assignment or license. Creators have the flexibility to sell, transfer, or license their copyright to individuals, organizations, or publishing houses, allowing them to exploit and monetize their works while retaining certain rights or receiving royalties.
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