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Copyright Act 1957

Online Legal India LogoBy Online Legal India Published On 28 Dec 2020 Updated On 21 Jan 2022 Category Copyright

The bundle of rights given to the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and the producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings is called Copyright. It includes the right of reproduction of the work, communication of the work to the public, adaption and translation of the work. With the nature of the projected work, the scope and the duration of protection varies accordingly.

In 2016, the Delhi High Court stated that copyright is not the inevitable, divine or natural right that confers on the author the absolute ownership of their creations. It is designed rather promote activities and progress in that specific field for the intellectual enrichment of the public.

Types of work protected under the act

  • Literary
  • Dramatic
  • Artistic and
  • Musical work



A lifetime of the author + sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies.

  • Anonymous and pseudonymous works
  • Posthumous work
  • Cinematograph films
  • Sound records
  • Government work
  • Photographs
  • International Agencies
  • Public undertakings






Until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar years next following the year in which the work is first published

Applicable Copyright Act Before 1958

The Indian Copyright Act 1914 was applicable in India prior to the 1958 act. However, works created prior 21 January 1958 is still governed by the Indian Copyright Act 1914. Based on the Imperial Copyright Act of 1911 passed by the parliament of the United Kingdom, it was slightly modified in accordance with the Indian Law. According to the act, the term for which copyright shall subsist in photographs shall be fifty years from the making of the original negative from which the photograph was directly or indirectly derived, and the person who was the owner of such negative at the time when such negative was made shall be deemed to be the author of the work, and, where such owner is a body corporate, the body corporate shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to reside within the parts of His Majesty's dominions to which this Act extends if it has established a place of business within such parts.

Remedies available against Copyright Infringement in India

The Copyright Act 1957 provides three kinds of remedies-

  • Administrative remedies – provided under the statutes, include detention of the infringing goods by the customs authorities.
  • Criminal remedies - provided under Chapter XIII of the statute, the remedies provided against copyright infringement include imprisonment for up to 3 years along with a fine which shall not be more than 2,00,000 rupees.  
  • Civil remedies- provided under Chapter XII of the Copyright Act 1957 and the remedies provided include injunctions, damages and accounts of profits.

Exceptions of the Copyright Act 1957

Certain acts are exempted from the ambit of Infringement under The Copyright Act 1957. While people in India use the term fair use to denote copyright exceptions in India, it is factually wrong. While the US and other countries use the fair use exception, India follows a hybrid approach that allows –

  • For certain specified mentioned purposes fair dealing is done with any copyrighted work.
  • Specific items enumerated in the statute.

While the fair use usage can be applied to any kind of uses, the fair dealing usage followed in India is clearly limited to certain restrictions.

  • Private or personal use, including research and education
  • Criticism and review
  • Reporting of current affairs and events, including the reporting of a lecture delivered in public. 

The jurisdiction law regarding the copyright violation has gone a drastic change. It is indeed necessary to put copyright for the works that one does. Utilizing a specific thing against the creator is by far the worst way of doing business and hence the Government in order to protect such interest and ethical business has introduced the concept of copyrights. If a person has copyrighted something it means he is safe from the theft of his/her asset that he uses to gain a considerable influence on the market. Hence, copyrighting is not only important but also prevents other competitors to use your tactics against you.

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