FAQ on Copyright

1.What is copyright?

Copyright is defined as a property right of an original work owned by an individual which is fixed in a physical medium of expression, thereby giving the holder an exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and display the work. The original work includes literary, musical, artistic, photographic, a film work or a computer programme, etc. Unlike trademark Copyright just has one symbol i.e. © which can be placed on the original piece of work that you have created.

2.What is the need to protect a copyright?

Copyright needs to be protected as it ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights to the owners/authors/creators and further protecting & rewarding creativity. The economic & social development is dependent on creativity. Efforts of the writers, producers, artists, designers, dramatists, musicians etc are preserved and given recognition which encourages them to create more.

3.Can we use any work without permission of the owner of the copyright, and, if so, which are they?

Yes, there are some specific properties where the work can be used without the permission of the owner;

  • Research purposes or for personal study.
  • Reviewing/criticizing the copyrighted work.
  • Reporting/delivering current facts/events based on it.
  • Performance by an amateur club in case the audience is not paying to watch it.
  • Under certain conditions even the making of sound recordings are permitted.

4.Does copyright apply to titles and names?

No, a copyright does not protects names, titles or word combinations, phrases, slogans etc. It protects tangible original works.

5.What is a work?

The work here that can be copyright includes the following;

  • literature
  • music, including the lyrics
  • dramatics, including tunes
  • signs/parodies and choreographic works
  • pictures, graphics, and sculpture
  • Movie/Motion Pictures and other audiovisual works
  • architecture
  • sound recordings

6.Who can register a Copyright?

The following persons are legally allowed to submit the copyright application for registration;

  • The Author who created the work.
  • The Copyright claimant who has obtained the ownership of the right from the author.
  • The Authorized Agent who is duly given the responsibility to act on behalf of the author and other copyright claimant.

7.What is not protected by a copyright?

There are various categories of work that generally do not fit in the eligibility criteria for the copyright protection. These include the following;

  • works that cannot be fixed in a physical/tangible platform of expression like unrecorded/un-noted choreographic works , or improvisational speeches or performances that do not have a written/recorded proof.
  • titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
  • ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration
  • The facts, figures and information which are common/generic property cannot be considered under the authority of any individual like standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common source, etc.

8.What is included in an artistic work?

An artistic work includes;

  • paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs.
  • architectural work
  • anything related to crafting is also included in this type.

9.Whose rights are protected by copyright?

The rights of the authors i.e. the creators, producers, and owners of the intellectual property in the form of literacy, drama, artistic works, cinematography, etc are protected by the Copyright registration.

10.What is the validity of performer’s rights?

The validity of the performer’s rights subsist for 25 years.

11. What is the validity of a Copyright?

Once you have registered your copyright, the validity depends on a lot of things including whether the work was published or unpublished, the year of publishing and the type of author. E.g. If an individual author's work is published after 2002 then the copyright expires 70 years after the author's death.

  • If a corporation owns and publishes the work, then the copyright expires 95 years from date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever comes first.
  • Copyright in case of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work = Lifetime + 60 years after the death of the author
  • In case of joint ownership, the period of 60 yrs would be calculated from the death of the last of the last surviving author.
  • Cinematograph films, photographs, computer programs are protected for 60 years from the end of the year in which the work is made public with the consent of the copyright owner.
  • Work no longer protected under copyright or created by any government office for civil use is considered in the "public domain" and may be used freely.

12.When can you claim a Copyright?

You can claim for Copyright registration once you fulfill the following requirements;


The ideas/work of the author/creator needs to be fixed in any tangible medium of expression so that it acts as proof while registering a copyright.

Originality and Authenticity

This is fundamental of copyrightable content/work that it needs to be one of its kind and original , only then it is protected by copyright. The quality and uniqueness are not essential for the copyright registration. Some works are similar but are independently created are subjected to copyright protection.

Minimal Creativity

Hard work is not enough to gain copyright protection a minimum creativity is also essential.

13.What are the requirements for Copyright registration?

The requirements for a copyright registration are minimal and they are as follows;

  • Details of the Applicant, author(incase applicant is different from creator)
  • Title of work that is to be registered.
  • If the work is published then details of the date of publication, the name of the publisher, nationality & state of publication needs to be mentioned.
  • Power of Attorney for the firm registering copyright.
  • Six hard copies of work & three soft copies of work.

14.What is the process of registering a Copyright?

The process of registering a copyright is very simple and has three stages;

  • Filing of Application: This is the first step where the application is filed along with a fees, and a diary number is issued based on the application.
  • Examination: After waiting for about a minimum of 30days for objection the work needs to get clearance from the Registrar of Company only then it can continue for further registration.
  • Registration: the registration depends on the approval from the Registrar office only after which the copyright can be implemented legally on any piece of work.

15.How long does it takes to register a Copyright?

The registration process is simple and less time consuming , once you submit all the relevant documents, you have to wait for a mandatory timeframe of 30 days for any objection on the copyright registration. In case any objection is filed then another 30days time is given to remove the same. So, it takes about 2 to 3 months to get the copyright registration done.

16.What is Copyright Piracy?

Copyright Piracy is a worldwide phenomenon which is defined as the unauthorized or illegal means of reproduction, distributing or importing the original work protected by copyright. Copyright piracy is a phenomenon prevalent worldwide. The author of a copyrighted work, has the ownership of the work and enjoys certain exclusive rights. The rights include;

  • To reproduce the piece of work.
  • To publish the copyrighted work.
  • To adopt, license and perform the work in public.

17.What are the advantages of a copyright?

  • It permits the right to sue an infringer in federal court, in case the owner holds a copyright which is obtained after registration. The copyright owner has the right to oppose any offender who claims the ownership of that particular work.
  • Fundamentally, copyright is a private right and depends on an individual in which way he/she wants to implement or use the copyright. It is flexible in nature and is not mandatory to be utilized in the work and can also be assigned to others by the owners.
  • Another advantage is benefitting by selling or transferring the copyright. In case any third party wants the copyright then the initial owner has the privilege of deciding whether to sell/transfer the copyright or not.
  • The owner can do any deal/agreement while transferring or selling the copyright to the other.
  • Copyright safeguards authentic & original work, if the owner is not registered then its easy to exploit the intellectual works without paying any royalties or compensation to the owner of the work.
  • It encourages enterprise and creates a favorable climate which in a way stimulates economic activity.

18.What are the rights given to the Copyright owner?

The copyright owners are given the following rights:

  • Copyright owners can either exercise themselves using the copyright or authorize the doing of any of the following:
  • Reproducing the work in any tangible form & storing it in any medium by electronic means.
  • Issuing copies of the work to the public not being copies already in publication.
  • Performing the work in public, or communicate it to the public to make any translation or adaptation of the work.
  • Selling or transferring, or offer for sale or hire a copy regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions.

19.What is the difference between Copyright & Patent?

Copyright is defined as a property right of an original work owned by an individual which is fixed in a physical medium of expression, thereby giving the holder an exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and display the work. The original work includes literary, musical, artistic, photographic, a film work or a computer programme, etc. Whereas, a Patent is a government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.

20.What is the difference between Copyright & Trademark?

Copyright is defined as a property right of an original work owned by an individual which is fixed in a physical medium of expression, thereby giving the holder an exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and display the work. The original work includes literary, musical, artistic, photographic, a film work or a computer programme, etc. Whereas, a Trademark gives identity to a brand; it is a recognizable sign, word, design or an expression which is used to identify the goods or services of a seller from those of others. A trademark helps in securing the brand name from being used or misused by the competitors; it also helps prevent confusion and manipulation of consumers, who come to associate with quality and attributes of a distinct brand in particular. A trademark is mostly located on the label, a voucher, or on the product itself.

21.Can I apply for a Copyright registration or I need a Power of Attorney?

Yes, you can apply for the registration of the Copyright provided the following points;

  • Any individual who claims to be the author of the work.
  • If the author has transferred the right of work to you.
  • A legal heir can also apply for the same.

22.Can a Published or Unpublished work be registered ?

Yes, both the published and unpublished works can be registered in the same process and the fee is also constant.

23.Can an Idea be registered for a Copyright?

No, ideas are intangible elements and cannot be registered under the Copyright Act, 1957.

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