What is copyright?
Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work.
Advantage Of Copyright
Public record of your ownership.
Your work will be published in the Copyright Office’s Catalog and will be searchable to the public. Anybody thinking of using this work will be able to search this Catalog and see that your work is protected. This gives constructive notice to the public that you own the work and helps defeat claims of “innocent infringement.”
Legal evidence of ownership.
If somebody takes your work, registration will avoid a costly dispute over the actual ownership. Your copyright registration will provide proof of your ownership and relieve you of this legal burden.
Your registration will demonstrate the validity of your copyright if it is registered within five years of publication. This can prevent future challenges to your rights in the work.
Enable the copyright holder to take legal action against infringers
Perhaps the most important benefit. Even though a copyright holder has rights in a work, those rights, with limited exception, cannot be enforced through the courts unless the work is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Without registration, a copyright holder cannot bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement.
Quantum of claim.
Without a timely registration, a copyright holder is limited to claim actual damages in the case of infringement. These can be nominal and/or difficult to prove in the court. With a registration, the copyright holder is entitled to claim statutory damages However, to claim these damages, the registration must be made within three months of the work’s publication or before the infringement occurs. Therefore, time is of the essence.
Copy Right Registration Process
Filing of Application
Filing of application with required documents in prescribed copies.
Minimum Period Waiting
After filing of application with complete details and copies, the author have to wait for a mandatory period of 30 days so that no objection is filed in the Copyright office against the claim that particular work is created by applicant. If such objection is filed it may take another one month time to decide as to whether the work could be registered by the Registrar of Copyrights after giving an opportunity of hearing the matter from both the parties.
If no objection is filed the application goes for scrutiny from the examiners. If any discrepancy is found the applicant is given 30 days time to remove the same. Response to the objections is to be filed within 30 days.
A Copyright registration certificate is issued by the copyright office after the objections, if any, are overcome to the satisfaction of copyright officer.
Frequently asked question:
Does copyright apply to titles and names?
Copyright does not ordinarily protect titles by themselves or names, short word combinations, slogans, short phrases, methods, plots or factual information. Copyright does not protect ideas or concepts. To get the protection of copyright a work must be original.
Is it necessary to register a work to claim copyright?
No. Acquisition of copyright is automatic and it does not require any formality. Copyright comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring copyright. However, certificate of registration of copyright and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to dispute relating to ownership of copyright.
Whether unpublished works are registered?
Yes. Both published and unpublished works can be registered.
Whether computer Software or Computer Programme can be registered?
Yes. Computer Software or programme can be registered as a ‘literary work’. As per Section 2 (o) of the Copyright Act, 1957 “literary work” includes computer programmes, tables and compilations, including computer databases. ‘Source Code’ has also to be supplied along with the application for registration of copyright for software products.
How can I get copyright registration for my Web-site?
A web-site contains several works such as literary works, artistic works (photographs etc.), sound recordings, video clips, cinematograph films and broadcasting and computer software too. Therefore, a separate application has to be filed for registration of all these works.
How long I have to wait to get my work to get registered by the Copyright office?
It may take 2 to 3 months time for registration of any work in the normal course. The cooperation of the applicant in providing necessary information is the key for speedy disposal the matter.
Is an opportunity for hearing given in all the cases pertain to rejection of registration?
Yes.. As per the rule 27 of the Copyright Rules, 1958 no application is rejected without giving an opportunity to be heard. The applicant himself or his/her pleader may appear in the hearing.