Copyright in Sound Recording

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Copyright Sound Recording in India-An Overview

The intellectual property rights regime in India, as well as globally, aims to secure the right of ownership over original ideas. This gives authors, producers, and writers the right to profit from their work. The Indian Copyright Act, 1957, provides for the grant of copyrights in the Indian landscape of intellectual property rights. While no copyright can be granted for an idea or imagination, the law does protect the expression or manifestation of the idea. As a result, copyrights exist in literary works such as books, plays, scripts, music, lyrics, computer programmes, and so on. This is not all, for those in the creative arts space – copyright registration in India can also be sought for sculptures, artwork, and photographs.

As a result, a musical work, sound recording, or original composition can be granted copyright in India. The only other requirement, aside from originality, is that the creation be tangible. This means that the creation should be on a medium that can be felt, heard, or touched with ordinary senses, removing any possibility of granting copyrights to mere ideas. Thus, musical works expressed as a sound or written notations of musical notes are broadly protected by copyright. This post focuses on how to obtain privacy and terms for a sound recording, the benefits it provides, and the documentation work that you should keep on hand to expedite the process.

Qualification for Copyright Sound Recordings and Composition

The copyright for sound recordings and composition can be easily obtained based on the Copyrights Act and various court decisions. The musical work or sound to be granted copyright must be original and must be reduced to a form that can be printed, reduced to writing, graphically produced, or reproduced. This means that the law expects the melody of an arrangement on individual elements consisting of various components such as pitch, duration, timbre, and volume to be expressed in a tangible form.

As a general rule, copyright does not exist in the case of a sound recording and composition unless the work is first published in India, or if the work is published outside of India unless the author is a citizen of India. For unpublished work, the author must be an Indian citizen at the time of creation.

As a musical work's copyright includes other elements, such as lyrics, which can be protected by literary work copyright, sounds for which a musical work's copyright is sought will not be granted if they infringe on the right of any other copyright, such as the author of its lyrical work. However, two separate copyrights in the same work can subsist, where each owner of the copyrighted work retains exclusive ownership over their specific work.

Benefits of Getting Sound Recording Copyright in India

It should be stated that in the case of a musical work, the Copyright Act considers the "composer" of the musical work to be the author, capable of receiving copyright protection. If the recording and composition are done under contractual terms, such as by commissioning a lyricist, singer, or other artist, the employer who commissions the agent is considered the first owner of the copyright.

  • As copyright is the legal protection of a collection of rights, copyright exists in the case of a sound recording for its various components such as song lyrics, musical composition, capturing the sound recording on tape, and so on
  • The various rights contained in a sound recording can then be assigned, reassigned, and licensed
  • The Copyright Act also permits the owner of the copyright to reproduce the work and store it in any medium, including electronic devices and web access
  • The owner of a copyrighted sound recording may perform the work in public, translate it, adapt it, and so on. However, performance of work in "private" may not be protected
  • The owner of the copyright has the right to take a copyright infringer to court
  • The court will then consider whether the infringed copy exploited or copied the original producer's skill and effort
  • Expert evidence can also be used to distinguish between the two works
  • The author of the copyright retains the right to have his name published in all copies of his work, as well as the right to prevent alteration and distortion of his original work
  • A voluntary license may also be granted, under which the owner of the copyright to the sound recording in any existing work, or the prospective owner of such copyright in any future work, may grant any interest in the right by license in writing.

Checklist to Copyright Sound Recording and Composition

  • The copyright India standard for "originality" in musical work or sound recording. The original work must be submitted for this
  • The year and country of first publication, as well as the publisher's name, address, and nationality, as well as any subsequent publications
  • Copyright in sound recording allows for exclusive rights to assign, licence, and prevent others from using the work. Thus, the names, addresses, and nationalities of any other persons to whom the author intends to authorise others to assign or licence the copyrights
  • If the work's author is not the applicant, a No Objection Certificate in original from the original author(s) indicating that he/she has no objection if the work's copyright is registered in the applicant's name is required (s)
  • If the sound recording is being registered in the name of a firm, details of the person(s) who has/have created the work may be furnished
  • Class and title of the work, as well as the language of the work.

Process to Get a Copyright for Sound Recording in India

Before beginning, one should understand why they need a copyright for your sound recording. The copyright grant establishes a legal claim to the work and thus serves as an important public record document of ownership. It enables the copyright holder to sue an infringer for unauthorised use of the work and to seek statutory and punitive damages for the harm caused by such reproduction. The copyright grant from the Registrar of Copyrights also serves as prima facie evidence of copyright registration in any court. Also, take a look at the copyright sound recording form.

The Registrar of Copyrights is the issuing author for copyrights in India. The procedure for registration is as follows:

  • Application for registration is to be made on Form XIV ( Including Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars) as prescribed in the first schedule to the Rules
  • Separate applications should be made for registration of each work; Moreover, every column of the Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars should be replied to, specifically
  • After receipt of the application, a thirty-day mandatory cooling-off period begins, during which objections to the grant of such copyright can be filed
  • All such objections are scrutinised, a reply may be sought from the applicant and after hearing both parties, the Registrar will issue a certificate.

Documents Required to Get a Copyright for Sound Recording

The following documents will be essential to getting copyright in your sound recording work:

  • A filled "statement of particulars" and a "statement of further particulars" is required if the work sought to be given copyright is not original
  • A copy of "Acknowledgement Slip" and one hard copy of "Copyright Registration Form"
  • No objection certificate if the copyright application is being filed on behalf of the author by any other person
  • One copy of the work irrespective of published or unpublished
  • Details of fee payment
  • If the author is deceased, details of the date of decease and submission of a notarized affidavit regarding inheritance of right(s) /NOC from all the legal heirs of the deceased author in favour of the applicant.
  • Power of Attorney, if being filed by a lawyer.

Why Vakilsearch?

Vakilsearch can help you get copyright for your sound recording with the guidance of its experts. The various documentation and the processes can easily be handled by our team and we make sure that the process is expedited. If you have any queries regarding the process our team is eager to provide constant support to resolve them.

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