Protection for literary, artistic, dramatic, cinematographic works, and sound recordings are possible by registration with the Copyright Office in India by filing an application online or with the Copyright Office in Delhi. Although protection for any of the copyright protected works exist from the moment it is created, registration of copyrights provides prima facie evidence as to ownership of the work.

Being a signatory of multiple conventions like the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, the Rome Convention and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), India recognizes the rights of copyright protected works from any of the convention countries.

A work that is applied for registration can be published or unpublished. Published work refers to works that is made available to the public by any means while unpublished work refers to the work that is not been open to the public for use.

The Copyright Act specifically states that if a copyright which is capable of being registered as a design is not registered, the copyright in it ceases after more than 50 products are made by an industrial process.

Once an application for the registration of copyrights is made, a 30 day period is given for third parties to raise objection to the application made. If no such objections are received, the Copyright Office will examine the application to ensure that all procedural requirements are met. If there are any objections, once they are complied with or argued against, a registration certificate will be issued.

Copyright protection for an artistic work, dramatic work, literary and musical works subsists during the lifetime of the author plus a period of 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies. Copyright protection for a cinematograph film, sound recording, photograph and Government Work subsists for 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which it was first published.

Legal action can be initiated before the District Courts or High Court of India.

This article has been authored by Durga Bhatt, an IP Law practitioner.

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