Rights Granted Under Copyright Law in India

Under the India Copyright Law, 1957, the owner of the copyright of the work is granted certain exclusive rights. These rights can be seen as an incentive for the creators of the work, ensuring that other does exploit the creator’s works.

Copyright is related to original literary and artistic works, musical and dramatic works, cinematograph films and sound recordings. The exclusive rights granted to the owner of the copyright are different from the rights that a person would receive if he or she merely owns a copy of the work.


The author of the book and the purchase of a book have different rights. While the purchaser has the right to resell or own the book, the author still holds the copyright. Therefore, while the author can make further copies for selling the work, the purchaser does not have a similar right.

These exclusive rights granted by the Copyright Act allows the author or creator to sell and make multiple copies of his/her work without forfeiting any of the rights under the Indian Copyright Act.

More on: Advantages and Rights of Copyright Registration in India

The Perspective of Copyright Protection in India

Under the Copyright Act, 1957, the owner broadly receives two kinds of rights:

  • Economic Rights
  • Moral Rights

These Can be Further Classified as Follows:

1. Right of Reproduction

The owner of the protected work has the exclusive right to make copies of the same in any form. For instance, the copying a song in multiple devices or uploading the song in multiple platforms can be considered as a reproduction of the work. No one else other then the author is allowed to make copies for commercial purpose.

2. Right to Distribute

Similar to the right to reproduce, the owner has the right to distribute his work on various platforms. For this purpose, the owner might transfer certain rights to the third-party distributors. For instance, the producer of a film has the right to distribute his work to different media entities and entertainment houses for screening. For this, the producer would also give these distribution houses the right to collect ticket fees to view the film screening.

3. Right to make Derivatives

The owner also has the right to make adaptations and translations of the protected work. For instance, the author of a book, or a producer of a movie can make derivatives of the protected work in multiple languages. Anyone else wanting to make such adaptations must seek the permission of the author to make such adaptations and modifications.

4. Right to Performance

The owner also has the right to perform his work in public. For instance, a signer can perform her original songs in a concert, and also has the right to charge for such concerts. The right to performance also includes broadcast rights and publishing rights. This right basically allows the owner to choose who people would be able to access his/her.

5. Paternity Rights

The right relates to attribution and claim of the creators on their protected work. When a person holds a copyright for a work, it means that he or she also has the credit for the work, and no one else can take the credit for their work. For instance, if a movie is made on a book without the permission of the author, then, the author has the right to sue for infringement.

Fair Use of Copyright Material

Despite have conclusive rights, the owner of a work cannot claim absolute rights in cases of fair use of the protected material. Under the provision of the Copyright law, the works can be reproduced and adapted without the permission of the author in situations such as:

  • Use by academic institutions and libraries for research and study
  • Non-commercial performances and performances by amateur clubs
  • Used by groups for criticism, review and news reporting
  • Use in connection to legal proceedings

The law of fair use helps ensure that there remains a balance between the rights of the owner and the community.

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