Basics of the Indian Copyright Act

Basics of the Indian Copyright Act: All You Need to Know

This article on ‘Basics of the Indian Copyright Act‘ was written by Pramod Sanap, an intern at Legal Upanishad.


Copyright basically protects the original work relating to music, art, cinematography, sound recordings, drama, and literary work from unapproved and unlicensed use by any person. Copyright protection provides the exclusive right to an individual who has produced any aforementioned original work it means everyone else is excluded from unauthorized and unapproved use of that work. It is also a negative right as it prevents other people from unapproved use. In India, copyright protection is provided by the Copyright Act of 1957 for regulating and governing copyright.

Basics of Copyright Law

Literary works:

literary works “includes any published or written compositions, regardless of the caliber or form of the work. Any piece of writing that would fall under the heading of literature is referred to as a literary work “. However, there won’t be any copyright protection if the work is only a group of phrases that didn’t need any literary talent to assemble. A computer program is viewed and protected in India like a literary work.  

Musical work:

A musical piece is defined as a composition that only consists of music, including any visual notation of the composition, but excluding any words or actions that are intended to be sung, spoken, or performed in conjunction with the music. It is not necessary to have written a musical piece to be protected by copyright.

Dramatic works:

A cinematograph film is excluded from the definition of a dramatic work, which comprises any composition for narration, choreography, or amusement in a dumb performance whose artistic arrangement or performing form is defined in text or another way.

Cinematography work:

Any graphical recording by any means created using a method from which a dynamic picture may be created by any mechanism, including digital films, is referred to as a “cinematograph film.” The term “cinematograph” is to be interpreted as including those works created using a method similar to cinematography.

Artistic works:

An artwork, a statue, a sketch (including a schematic, atlas, blueprint, or plan), an etching, a photograph, or any other creation of creative handicraft is considered an art piece, as is a piece of architecture. Any palette, font layout, or combination of elements is considered to be an artistic work.

Recordings of sound:

Irrespective of the media on which the recording is created or the process used to create the audio, the term “sound recording” refers to a recording of audio out of which sounds might well be generated. Sound recordings include a CD-ROM and a phonogram.

Any piece of work that fits into one of the aforementioned categories is entitled to copyright protection. The work being sought for copyright protection must be authentic, but it is not required that the work contain any novel ideas or thoughts. Only the novelty of the idea expression is of relevance to the law.

Basics of the Indian Copyright Act
Basics of the Indian Copyright Act

The author of a work has the right to forbid or grant permission to:

Use the work for a public exhibition, such as a drama or instrumental production; copy the work in any format, including print, audio, visual, etc.;

create duplicates or reproductions of the material using devices like CDs, cassettes, etc.; broadcast it using multiple media; and translate it into other languages.

In addition, moral rights, which include the right to be acknowledged as the creator of a work and the right to protest its denigration, are safeguarded. The Copyright Act bestows on an author specific rights that are distinct from and continue even after the author’s copyright is fully or partially assigned. The author is entitled to:

If any distortion, mutilation, alteration, or other act regarding the aforementioned work would be detrimental to their honour or reputation, they may deny authorship of the work, stop them from doing so, or seek damages.

The writer’s legal representatives may also use certain unique rights. The moral right to prevent deformation is accessible to the writer even when the work’s copyright period has passed, not just against distortion, amputation, etc. that occurs during that time.

It is crucial to note that rather than protecting the ideas directly, copyright law safeguards manifestations of ideas. A group of exclusive powers that Section 14 of the Act confers to the proprietor of the copyright is collectively referred to as “copyrights.” These rights may only be exercised by the copyright owner or the other individual who has been duly authorized by the copyright owner to act. Among other things, these rights grant you the freedom to modify, duplicate, publish, translate, and interact with the general public.

Because India is a signatory of the Berne Convention, one of the biggest advantages of copyrighted works is that they are accessible in many countries throughout the world, even if they were first published there. Materials that were initially published in India are protected concerning all signatories to the conventions and accords to which India is a party. As a result, works first published in India are copyright protected in several countries without the requirement for a specific application.

The Indian government subsequently extended copyright protection to encompass works that were first published outside of India in 1999 with the International Copyright Order.


The original works of music, art, film, sound recordings, theatre, and literature are all protected by copyright laws from unauthorized and unlawful use by anybody. The provision of copyright protection grants an individual who created any of the aforementioned original works the only right; thus, everyone else is prohibited from making unlawful or unapproved use of that work.

The work being sought for copyright protection must be authentic, but it is not required that the work contain any novel ideas or thoughts. Only the novelty of the idea expression is of relevance to the law. In order to address the ever-evolving issues brought on by changing circumstances and cutting-edge technology, the present legislative basis may be utilised in such a manner as to guarantee that all parts of copyright are correctly addressed.