ASSIGNMENT IN COPYRIGHT

INTRODUCTION

IP rights subsists with those works which are produced by theintellect of a human.It can be literary work, musical work, inventions, etc. It is an intangible form of property. No one can make use of IP without the consent of the owner. The main objective of IP law is to protect their rights of owner from infringement.

In field of IP, Copyright is a protection given to the creators of works as a reward and acknowledgement to their intellectual input. The objective of copyright is protection of the interest of a owner of the work. The copyright subsists in literary, artistic, musical, dramatic work , cinematographic work as well as sound recording.

Under the copyright law, there is Assignment and Licensing of the copyrighted work by the owner as per the act of 1957. The following has been considered and discussed in this assignment.

As per S.18, The owner of the copyright of a work has the right to assign his copyright over the work to any other person. The effect of assignment is that the assignee becomes entitled to all the rights related to the copyright to the assigned work by the assignor. However, the assignment can be partial and not complete.

Where the assignee of a copyright becomes entitled to any right comprised in the copyright, he shall be treated as the owner of the copyright in respect of those rights andthe assignor shall still be treated as the owner of copyright of unassigned rights. The legal representatives of the assignee shall be entitled to the benefits of assignment, if the assignee dies before the work comes into existence.

SECTION 19: MODE OF ASSIGNMENT

 As per S.19, Assignment of copyright is valid only if it is in writing and signed by the assignor or his duly authorized agent. The assignment of a copyright in a work should identify the work and specify kind of rights assigned and the duration and territorial extent of such assignment.

Further, it should specify the amount of royalty payable, if any, to the author or his legal heirs during the continuance of assignment and the assignment will be subject to revision, extension or termination on terms mutually agreed upon by the parties. 

If the period of assignment is not mentioned it will be deemed to be taken as five years from the date of assignment. If the territorial extent of such assignment is not stipulated, it will be taken as applicable in whole of India.

S.19(8) contemplates that the assignment of copyright work against the terms and conditions on which rights have been assigned to a particular copyright society where the author of the work is a member shall be void.

As per S.19(9) and S.19(10), the assignment of copyright for making cinematograph film or sound recording shall not affect the right of the author to claim an equal share of the royalties and consideration payable with respect to use of such work.

Case: Saregama v. Suresh Jindal

Held: It was held that the owner of the copyright in a future work may assign the copyright to any person either wholly or partially for the whole of the copyright or any part thereof and once the assignment is made the assignee for the purpose of this Act is treated as the owner of the copyright. 

LICENSING OF COPYRIGHT

The owner of copyright may grant a license to do any of the act in respect of which he has an exclusive right to do.

The license can be classified into following categories: 

  1. Voluntarylicense(S.18):The author or the copyright owner has exclusive rights in his creative work and he alone has right to grant license with respect to such work.

As per S.30, the owner of the copyright in a work may grant any interest in his copyright to any person by license in writing, which is to be signed by him or by his duly authorised agent.

 A license can be granted not only in existing work but also in respect of the future work, in this situation assignment shall come into force when such future work comes into existence.

Where a licensee of the copyright in a future work dies before such work comes into existence, his legal representatives shall be entitled to the benefit of the license if there is no provision to contrary. 

 Duration of license:  The rights which have been licensed has Territorial extent of the licensed.

The quantum of royalty payable Terms regarding revision.

Extension and termination Voluntary licenses: It can be :

  1. Exclusive – As per S.2(j), it is alicense which confers on the licensee and persons authorized by him, to the exclusion of all other persons, any right comprised in the copyright work.When owner grants an exclusive right, he denudes himself of all rights and retains no claim on the economic rights so transferred.
  2. Non-exclusive – It does not confer right of exclusion. It is mere grant of an authority to do a particular thing which otherwise would have constituted an infringement.
  3. Co-exclusive: The licensor grants a license to more than one licensee but agrees that it will only grant licences to a limited group of other licensees.
  4. Sole license – It means where only the licensor and the licensee can use it to the exclusion of any other third party.
  5. Implied license –  In this licence, author impliedly allows or permits the use of his work. For example, he had knowledge that someone is using his work but he did not take any action.
  6. Compulsory Licenses& Statutory License: Compulsory and statutory licenses can impact both the identity of the licensee who the owner chooses to deal with and the terms, including rates of royalty, that the owner may stipulate for such dealing.

The difference between the two licenses are :

The compulsory license is always granted upon specific application by an individual to the competent authority whereas the statutory license is a blanket fixation of rates of royalty by the authority and a grant of standardised licenses to all those who are interested in availing the same.

Types of Compulsory Licenses 

There are five main categories of compulsory licenses currently operating in India.  

 1. Licenses in respect of works unreasonably withheld from the public;  

2. Licenses in respect of orphan works; 

 3. Licenses in respect of works for the differently abled; 

 4. Licenses in respect of translations; 

5. Licenses in respect of reproduction and sale of works unavailable in India.

E. Statutory Licenses :These licenses can be understood as a particularised expropriation of owner autonomy in respect of the copyrighted work.

The need for such expropriation arises only upon acts or inaction on the part of the owner that render the work unavailable to the public or differently abled persons.

It do not require any examination into the conduct of the owner.

It attempts a wholesale expropriation of owner autonomy, once the work fits within the broader class of works that can be so licensed. 

Types of Statutory License

There are two types of statutory licenses:

  1. Cover version recording licenses under S. 31C
  2. Broadcasting licenses under S.31D.

CONCLUSION

The term ‘assignment’ and ‘license’ are not interchangeable. An assignment is different from a license. Generally, in absence of any provision to the contrary the assignee becomes the owner of the assigned work, whereas in case of a license the licensee gets the right to exercise particular rights only.  An assignment may be general, i.e. without limitation or an assignment may be subject to limitations. It may be for the whole term of copyright or any part thereof. An assignment transfers an interest in and deals with copyright itself as provided under S.14 of the Act, but license does not convey the copyright but only grants a right to do something, which in absence of license would be unlawful. An assignment transfers title in copyright, a license merely permits certain things to be done by licensee.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at secondinnings.hr@gmail.com

In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

Posted in IPR

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