CopyrightsLegal Advice

What Are the Different Types of Copyright?

Copyrights are an important part of Intellectual Party Rights (IPR). Copyrights serve the purpose of aiming for and encouraging creativity in various kinds of works. This article explains the various types of copyrights one can register for.

What Does Copyright Mean?

Copyright is a part of IPR that includes rights of adaptation, reproduction, and communication to the public. Copyrights are provided to people for creativity in the fields of music, cinematography, works of literature, and any other form of innovation and creativity. A copyright is basically a ‘Right to copy’ only available to the original creator. Any unauthorised use of an original creator’s work shall be liable for Copyright Infringement as per the Copyright Act, 1957. There are copyrights associated with various types of work under the Copyrights Act of India. 

What Are the Types of Copyrights in India?

Copyrights create an atmosphere for inspiring creativity by protecting the rights of the original creators of the work. There are various types of works covered under the Copyrights Act. The following are the different types of copyrights available in India.

1. Literary Works

Copyrights under this category cover works that include the original or unique creation of literature. Such literary works can be in the form of scripts, novels, biography, thesis, technical books, and programs. The copyrights to these could be claimed irrespective of the literary merit, style, or quality of work. The copyright under literary work provides exclusive rights

  • To make variations of a work
  • For a public performance of the work
  • For giving away the work copies to the public
  • For reproducing the work
  • To translate the work.

2. Dramatic Works

This is also a form of literary work. It includes any sort of preparation for a play that shall be performed, dumb show entertainment, drama, choreography, or fixed writing work. Dramatic works do not however include any kind of cinematographic films.

The copyright under dramatic work provides exclusive rights

  • For making any variations of the work
  • To reproduce the work
  • To make the work reach the public
  • To comprise the work in any cinematographic film. 

3. Musical Works

Musical works are copyrightable in themselves. Musical works do not include lyrics or sound. For the protection of musical works, a separate application has to be made to the Copyright Office, though the work related to sound recordings is usually dependent on the musical works. A musical work doesn’t have to be written down, to enjoy copyright protection.

The copyright under musical work provides exclusive rights

  • For reproducing the musical work
  • For reaching out the work to the public
  • To make any kind of variation to the work
  • To perform the musical work in the public
  • To provide copies of the work to the public
  • To make a sound recording or a cinematographic film in respect of the musical work.

4. Artistic Works

Such artistic works under the Copyright Act, 1957 include the protection of artistic works that include original artwork including paintings, photography, buildings, diagrams, cartoons, molds, plans, etchings, cast for sculptures, graphics, and drawings, among others.

The copyright under artistic work provides exclusive rights

  • To issue copies of the work to the public
  • To include the artistic work in cinematographic films
  • To make any adaptations to the work
  • For reproducing the work
  • For communicating the artistic work to the public


5. Cinematograph Films

Cinematographic films usually include every single recorded work with moving images and visuals. It is any work of a visual recording with the sound recordings, prepared by any process, be it analogous or digital, and contains video films. It could include visual recordings in any medium, and any method of keeping such visual records.

The copyright under cinematograph film work provides exclusive rights

  • To hire, sell, or offer a copy of the film
  • For allotting the cinematograph film to the public
  • For making a copy or variations of the film. 

6. Sound Recording

The sound recording shall include any sort of recording, be it in any form of storage medium. It could include any song that contains a singer’s voice with or without music, a podcast, or recorded audio. Sound recordings also include music, which is why the permission of the inventor or creator of the music is needed for the copyright protection of the sound recording.

The copyright under sound recording work provides exclusive rights

  • To offer the sale or hire of any copy of the sound recording
  • For communicating the sound recordings to the general public
  • To create any other sound recording that symbolises it. 


Copyrights form an inspiring atmosphere to enhance the creativity of works. However, if the creation is claimed for ownership for generations, it could be harmful to society’s progress. Hence, the time period of copyright protection in India was set to the term of life of the creator, until sixty years following the year of the creator’s death. Rigid copyright rules can affect the progress of a society. Therefore, countries enact copyright laws that strike a balance between the interest of the creators and the community. Reach out to the experts at Vakilsearch for the easiest and smoothest copyright registration experience in the country. Our experts will guide you through every step of the process.

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