Protection of original works and Rights of owners under the Copyright Act

Protection of Original Works and Rights of Owners under the Copyright Act

This article on ‘Protection of Original Works and Rights of Owners under the Copyright Act’ was written by Akriti Parashar, an intern at Legal Upanishad.


The Indian Copyright Act, 1947 is a law that regulates copyright in India. It comes under the umbrella of Intellectual Property Rights. In simple words, Copyright is a right that provides protection to the creators to protect their original creations. It gives an individual a sense of security, that their creation is safe. Protection of Copyright is only given on original work.

Section 13 of the Copyright Act, 1947 defines Copyright as an exclusive right given to the creators in order to protect their original creations. It does not solely give protection to the idea itself it gives protection to the expression of an idea. These rights are given only for a limited period of time. If one wants to protect their work under the copyright act, they should register it under the Copyright Act. This article is an attempt to analyse the works that are given protection under the copyright act and the rights given to the owners of the original works.

What can be protected?

Section 13 under Chapter III of the Copyright Act 1947 provides a closed list of the works which are protected under this section. It includes works like:

  • Original Literary works
  • Dramatic Works
  • Musical works
  • Artistic Works
  • Cinematograph Films based works
  • Sound Recording
  • Computer Generated work

Whose right can be protected?

The Copyright Act grants exclusive rights to the creators of the original works to reproduce, distribute, perform and display their works.

The main aim of the copyright act is to encourage and appreciate the authors and artists to create their own original work and give them the right to protect their works. It also helped them by making sure that nobody uses their work without acquiring permission from them.

According to section 17 of the copyright act, the author is said to be the first owner.

The first owner varies according to different types of work:

  • Literary or Dramatic works- The creator of the literary works is called an author who would be the first owner.
  •  Musical Work- The composer is the first owner.
  • Photography- The individual who clicked the photos, the photographer would be the first owner.
  • Cinematography or sound recording- The producer would be considered the first owner of the work.
  • Computer-generated work- The person who creates or generates the work through a computer would hold the title of first owner.
  • Journalists during their employment period- If there is no agreement then the ownership of the work would lie upon the employer.

Rights of a Copyright Owner

Under the Copyright Act of 1947, the author is guaranteed certain rights to protect their work. For every different type of work, there is a different type of right given to the owner of the work to protect their work. These rights are important because they protect the rights of the creators and promote creativity.

The rights given to the author are in two forms:

  • Economical Rights
  • Moral Rights
Protection of original works and Rights of owners under the Copyright Act
Protection of original works and Rights of owners under the Copyright Act

Economical Rights of the Author

Economic rights allow the author to generate monetary gain from the use of their work.

  • Right to reproduce the work– The right to reproduce gives the author the right to copy his work and reproduce it in any form by editing, adding and modifying. Only the author has this right since the reproduction of the work is economically helpful to its owner.
  • Right to distribute- The owner of the work has the right to distribute their work by selling, renting or gifting and generating money out of it.
  • Rights to translate- The owner of the work has the right to translate their work in any language as they want. They can choose if they want to change their work completely or partly, it gave them the authority to control the accessibility of their work.
  • Right to perform publicly- The copyright owner has the right to publicly display their work in any form that they may deem fit, like by way of broadcasting, putting it on the internet so it is accessible for everyone or by the way of performing at concerts.

Moral Rights of a Copyright Owner

The Copyright Act provides the owner with certain moral rights. Moral rights are as important rights as the economic rights of a copyright owner. These rights help the owner to maintain the integrity, originality and creativity of their work.

Section 57 of the Copyright Act, 1947 there are two types of moral rights:

  • Right to Paternity- The paternity rights of a copyright owner is to claim ownership or authorship for their work. This right helps them by preventing others from taking unauthorized ownership of their work.
  • Right to Integrity- This right helps the owner of the copyright to defend the reputation of his work from any abuse or exploitation. It includes the right to prevent or claim damages for any falsification, modification, deformation or any other act relating to the said work if it damages the honour of the owner.


  • The law should be made stricter so that anyone who is trying to copy any author’s work without prior permission, should be stopped immediately.
  • Those authors whose rights are infringed should be compensated adequately.


Copyright is an important right that protects the works of authors, artists, and other original creators. The Indian Copyright Act grants an exclusive right to regulate how their work is used and displayed to the public. The author of the work is the original owner of the work. It motivates individuals to create additional labour by protecting it against abuse or exploitation. Any work’s copyright is not permanent; it is only valid for a short time. Infringement of these rights has serious ramifications, yet fair use of any work does not result in an infringement of rights.