The primary objective of copyright is to promote the progress of science and useful arts. The laws of copyright assure authors of certain exclusive economic and moral rights, thus giving them the right to rewards for their original expression. Copyrights can be granted in literary, dramatic, musical and cinematographic works, which are then considered useful for the society as a whole. The law of copyright enables the author to enjoy the benefits of their creation by giving them certain special rights such as the exclusive right to reproduce the work in any form, issue copies of work to the public, perform the work, make cinematographic adaptations or sound recordings etc. The Copyright Act, 1957 aims to create an atmosphere conducive to creativity in India by offering protection through grant of a copyright to the efforts of a wide variety of people - such as writers, artists, designers, dramatists, musicians, architects and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films and computer softwares. This is done with the motive of inducing them to create more and motivate others in the society to create as well.
This right is available for a specific period of time during which no one else is allowed to enrich themselves at the cost of skill and labour of the original copyright owner that he or she has put in producing the work. However, this exclusivity of use that vests in copyright can also be passed on to another person. This can be done by granting consent to use, or by way of assigning the copyright to someone. Licensing the copyright to another person for an amount is also one way of giving the right of reproduction or use. Also, unlike physical assets, a copyright is an intangible asset granted for a specific period of time and therefore after the expiry of this period, the work passes on into the public domain and becomes a public property which can freely be used by anyone (reproduction rights).
The law envisages no protection in case the reproduction or broadcasting is done by making any sound recordings or visual recordings for the private use of the person making such recording for the purpose of teaching or research.
The right of reproduction means that a person shall not make copies of a work or of a substantial part of it in any material form including sound and film recording without the permission of the copyright owner. The most common kind of reproduction is printing an edition of a work, however, reproduction can be in other forms as well - such as making a sound melody out of a written work, creation of a dramatic work based on a novel etc.
At the onset, it must be clarified that in case of a musical work - the Copyright Act considers the “composer” of the musical work to be the author, capable of being granted the benefits of copyright protection. If the sound recording and composition are done under contractual terms, by commissioning a lyricist, singer etc, the employer who commissions the agent, is considered to be the first owner of the copyright.
What are some of the exceptions to the exclusive right of reproduction copyright of the author?
Subject to certain conditions, the copyright law provides that there would be no infringement of the right of reproduction under copyright law if done for the purpose of research or private study, for criticism or review of the work, for reporting current events, in course of judicial proceedings, or performance by an amateur club or society if the performance is given to a non-paying audience.
What are some of the remedies available if the right of reproduction copyright is violated?
A civil court can be approached for the grant of an injunction, that would stop the infringer from further publishing or storing copies of the copyrighted work in an illegal manner. Additionally, damages can also be awarded for the act of infringement.
Is registration of copyright a precondition for prosecution?
Although registration is not a necessary precondition for bringing the suit against illegal reproduction of copyrighted material, it is considered favourable, as it helps establish a prima facie cause. In the absence of registration, an innocent person cannot be presumed to have knowledge of the existence of the copyright.
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