Introduction –

Copyrights‘ refer to the legal rights provided by law to the original creator of the work in the fields of literature and computer software. The ‗Related Rights‘ encompass the author‘s work in the fields of dramatics, sound recording, film/video recordings, paintings, architecture, etc. Copyrights and Related Rights are one of the categories of IP and governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 of India. This Act provides rights of reproduction, communication to the masses, adaptation and translation of the work. The words author‘ and work‘ need to be understood from the perspective of Copyrights. The term ‘author’ refers to an individual who develops the content (of work). The author can be a writer (literary work), computer programmer (software), composer (musical work), producer (cinema films, sound recording), photographer (photos). The term ‘work’ is a task undertaken in the fields of literature, dramas, music, artistic, cinematograph film and sound recording.

Meaning of Copyright –

Copyright is a unique kind of intellectual property. The right which a Person acquires in a work, which is the result of his intellectual labor is called as copyright .t The primary function of a copyright laws to protect the fruits of a man’s work labor scale or test from being taken away by other people. The word ‘copyright’ is derived from the expression ‘copier of the word’ first used in the context according to Oxford dictionary in 1586 .The word ‘copy’ is presumed to date back to circa  1485 AD and was used to connote a manuscript or other matter prepared for printing.

The Word ‘Copy’ According to Black’s law dictionary means transcript imitation reproduction of an original writing painting instrument or the like.

Copyright as defined in the Oxford dictionary is an exclusive right given by law for certain term of years to an author composer etc. to print publish and sell copies of original work copyright in some form seems to have been recognized in ancient times the Roman adjudged That if one man wrote anything on paper of  another the writing should belong to the owner of the blank material meaning thereby the mechanical operation of writing by the scribe deserve to receive satisfaction.

The Statutory definition of copyright means the exclusive right to do or authorize others to do certain act in relation to –

  1. Literary, dramatic or musical works
  2. Artistic work;
  3. Cinematograph film ; and
  4. Sound recording

Section 14 of the copyright Act , 1957 defines copyright


Classes of copyright India, has following classes of Copyrights exist:

Literature: Books, Essays, Research articles, Oral speeches, Lectures, Compilations, Computer programme, Software, Databases. Dramatics: Screenplays, Dramas.

Sound Recordings: Recording of the medium on which such recording is made e.g. a Phonogram and a CD-ROM.

Artistic: Drawing, Painting, Logo, Map, Chart, Photographs, Work of Architecture, Engravings, and Craftsmanship.

Musical: Musical notations, excluding any words or any action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the music. A musical work need not be written down to enjoy Copyright protection.

Cinematograph Films: Cinematograph Film‘ is a visual recording performed by any medium, formed through a process .



The development of copyright law in India is closely associated with the British copyright law. Statute of Anne, first Copyright Act in England ,was passed in 17th century which provided that the author of any book already printed will have the sole right of printing such book for a term mentioned therein. Thereafter came the act of 1814 and then the act of 1842 which repealed the two earlier acts of 1709 and 1814 ,The Copyright Act of 1911 in England as codified and consolidated the various earlier copyright tags on different works then came the act of 1956. In India the first copyright Act was passed in 1914. This Was nothing but a copy of the Copyright Act of 1911 of the United Kingdom with a suitable modification to make it applicable to the British India the Copyright Act of 1957, which is the current statute has followed and adopted the principle and provisions contained in the UK act of 1956 along with the introduction of many new provisions. then came the Copyright Act 1983 which made a number of amendments to the Act of 1957 and the Copyright Act , 1984 which was mainly introduced with the object to discourage and prevent copyright Act 1994 has effected many major amendments in the Copyright Act of 1957 .


Copyright laws protect the form of expression of an idea, but not the idea itself. With respect to software, this typically means that the computer program, in both human-readable i.e. Source Code and machine-executable form i.e. Object Code, and the related manuals are eligible for copyright protection, but the methods and algorithms within a program are not protected expression. Source code and object code are protected against literal copying.



There was little need for copyright (or patent) protection for early computer Programs. There were few computers, and most software was custom-developed for in-House applications. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that computer programs were being Actively marketed by a software industry besides the computer manufacturers. Before Widely-marketed software, it was easy to protect by a contract or license agreement Any computer program that was being marketed.


While a contract restricted what people receiving the software could do with it, Particularly limiting their further distribution of the software, it could not bind people Who were not parties to the contract. A person finding a computer program on the Street could do anything he or she wanted with it. Copyright law, on the other hand, Provides protection for a computer program even when no contract exists. Under the Copyright Act of 1909, copyright protection required registration of the Copyright at the time of first publication. That caused a problem for early computer Programs because they weren’t generally published like books or other copyrightable Works. (The problem went away when the publishing requirement was eliminated by The Copyright Act of 1976.)


Although it is now clear that software can be protected by copyright, the real Question is what does that copyright protect? This question is complicated by the Inherently-functional nature of computer software, something that has traditionally Been protected by patents. Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act of 1976 restates this


In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship Extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, Concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is Described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work. This recognizes the complementary nature of copyright, which protects Expression, and patents, which protect useful procedures or machines.

Criteria for Copyright :

To qualify for Copyright protection, a work must exist in some physical (or tangible) form. The duration of the existence of the physical form may vary from a very short period to many years. Virtually any form of expression which can be viewed or listened to is eligible to qualify as Copyright. Even hurriedly scribbled notes for an impromptu speech are considered copyrightable material. The Copyright work has to be expressed by the creator in his frame of thought. In other words, the work has to be original i.e. the author created it from independent thinking void of duplication. This type of work is termed as an Original Work of Authorship (OWA). It may appear similar to already existing works but should not be the same. The original work may lack quality or quantity or aesthetic merit or all these parameters; still, it will pass the test of copyrightable work. In addition to originality for the work, Copyright protection also requires at least some creative effort on the part of the author. There is no minimum limit for the extent of creativeness. It is a subjective matter. The minimal level of creativity needed for Copyright protection depends on the judgment of the evaluator (adjudicated by the Office of Registrar of Copyright). As an example, mere changing the dimensions of a book will not be granted Copyright protection. Similarly, an address book of alphabetically arranged telephone numbers does not qualify for Copyright protection as it involves a straightforward alphabetical listing of phone numbers rather than a creative selection of listings.


Copyright Infringements –  As per the Copyrights Acts, 1957, the following acts are regarded as an infringement of Copyrights:

 Making copies for sale or hire or selling or letting them for hire without permission.

 Permitting any place for the performance of owned work (in public) where such performance constitutes an infringement of Copyright.

 Distributing infringing copies for trade or to such an extent to affect the interest of the owner of the Copyright prejudicially.

 Public exhibition of infringing copies for trade purposes.

 Importation of infringing copies.

 Translating a work without the permission of the owner.


Reference :

1.Law relating to Intellectual Property Rights – V.K Ahuja ( Book )

2.Intellectual Property law – prof. Meenu paul

3.Intellectual Property Rights – prof Rupinder Tiwari

4. << software copyright

5. << Copyright infringement

6. <<  Criteria for copyright





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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.


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