Basics of COPYRIGHT in India.
What is copyright?
Copyright is a right distributed by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In reality, it is rights including, among other things, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation, and translation of the work. There might be slight variations in the composition of the rights concerning the work.
Why should copyright be protected?
Copyright ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity. Creativity being the keystone of progress, no civilized society can afford to ignore the fundamental requirement of encouraging the same. Economic and social development of a culture is dependent on creativity. The protection supplied by copyright to the efforts of writers, artists, designers, dramatists, musicians, architects and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films and computer software, creates an atmosphere conducive to creativity, which induces them to produce more and motivates others to create.
Is it not the case that strict application of the principle of protection of copyright hampers the economic and cultural development of the society?
Yes. If copyright protection is applied rigidly, it could hamper the progress of the society. However, the laws of copyright are enacted with necessary exceptions and limitations to make sure that balance is maintained between the interests of the creators and of the community.
To strike a suitable and viable balance between the rights of the copyright owners and the interests of the society in general, you will find exceptions in the law. Many types of exploitation of work which are for social purposes such as education, religious ceremonies, etc are. Exempted from the operation of the rights granted in the Act. Copyright in work is recognized as infringed as long as a considerable part is created use of unauthorizedly. What's ‘substantial'varies from case to case? More often than not, it is a matter of quality rather than quantity. For instance, if a lyricist copies a catching phrase from another lyricist's song, there's apt to be infringement even if that phrase is extremely short.
Does the law allow any use of work without permission of who owns the copyright, and, in that case, which are they?
Susceptible to certain conditions, a fair deal for research, study, criticism, review and news reporting, in addition to the use of works in library and schools and the legislatures, is permitted without specific permission of the copyright owners. To be able to protect the interests of users, some exemptions have now been prescribed in respect of specific uses of works enjoying copyright. Some of the exemptions will be the uses of the task
For research or private study,
for criticism or review,
for reporting current events,
About judicial proceeding,
performance by a novice club or society if the performance is directed at a non-paying audience, and the making of sound recordings of literary, dramatic or musical works under certain conditions.
What's the scope of protection of the Copyright Act,1957?
The Copyright Act, 1957 protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings from unauthorized uses. Unlike the case with patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the ideas. There's no copyright in an idea.
Does copyright apply to titles and names?
Copyright does not ordinarily protect titles by themselves or names, short word combinations, slogans, short phrases, methods, plots or factual information. Copyright does not protect ideas or concepts. To obtain the protection of copyright a work should be original.
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