You may have heard the word “copyrights” being thrown around a lot. For a concept that is assumed to be so simple, there is an awful lot of misconceptions regarding it . As an author, it is something you should be pretty familiar with it. You can choose to look it up on the government sites but the legal jargon may bore you to death. So we’ve put together a conclusive guide on everything you need to know about Copyrights Registration.

What are Copyrights?

Basically, Copyright is a right that is provided by the law to “creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings.” It “ensures certain safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity.”

It is the right to copy or grant permission to be copied any original work. If you have a copyright to something, no one can make or issue a copy of it without your permission. It will protect your work from infringement or plagiarism of any kind.

Things that can be copyrighted

Any original work. From music to writing. Dance choreographies, paintings, photographs, movies, computer software, architecture etc. The moment your creation becomes tangible, it can be protected. This means that your ideas or concepts, no matter how unique are not eligible for copyrights.

There are 3 elements required to copyright something

  • You work needs to have some basic level of originality to be called “yours” in the legal sense. Facts and phone numbers have no such creativity and so cannot be copyrighted.
  • Like I mentioned earlier, you work needs to be tangible or in a fixed form. A melody or a musical notes cannot be protected. Put it on a paper and you have your rights.
  • It’s a lot like the fixation element. Ideas are not liable for copyrights, however, the expression of them can be. For e.g., the idea of a strong female protagonist fighting a corrupt government cannot be protected. But the Hunger Games series and Divergent series can be.

Things that can’t be copyrighted

Names, titles and clauses are not protected by copyrights. However, these come under Trademarks and patents. We will discuss them later. Fashion designs, recipes and jokes are also not protected under these rights. Short sentences or utilitarian language (for e.g., instructions on how to put together a chair) are also not eligible.

Common misconceptions

  • You need to GET your copyrights. Partially true. Copyrights are automatic. Just when you create something, it acquires these rights. However, if you want to make some kind of a legal claim against something, you need that product to be registered under your name. While it’s not compulsory, you may want to do so.
  • © is extremely important. While the sign may have held some significance in the past, these days it holds no value.
  • Only published works are eligible for copyright. Not true. Both published and unpublished works can be registered.
  • Poor man’s copyright works. If you don’t know what that is, here’s a mini summary- If you send yourself a copy of your product through physical mail and keep it unopened until a issue arises, you can present the package as proof(with the dates and everything). In reality that copy has no legal effect.
  • Copyrights, trademarks and patents are the same thing. The purpose of a copyright is to protect works of authorship while the purpose of trademark is to protect names and titles. A Patent issues property grant to intellectual property of people. (Like inventions or discoveries)
  • I can copy or use someone’s work as long as I don’t make money out of it. Except in the circumstances that come under Fair Use, you are not allowed to do that.

 

What is the procedure?

 

The Copyrights Office of India website clearly guides you through the process-
“The procedure for registration is as follows: 
a)
 Application for registration is to be made on Form IV ( Including Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars) as prescribed in the first schedule to the Rules ; 
b)
 Separate applications should be made for registration of each work; 
c)
 Each application should be accompanied by the requisite fee prescribed in the second schedule to the Rules ; and 
d)
 The applications should be signed by the applicant or the advocate in whose favour a Vakalatnama or Power of Attorney has been executed. The Power of Attorney signed by the party and accepted by the advocate should also be enclosed.

  1. e)The fee is either in the form of Demand Draft, Indian Postal Order favoring “Registrar Of Copyright Payable At New Delhi” or through E payment

Each and every column of the Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars should be replied specifically.”

After filing the application you will receive a diary number. Then you wait for 30 days to ensure that no one objects to your application. If that happens then it will take another 30 days for your application to be reconsidered. However, if no such thing happens the procedure will go as planned and may take up to 2-3 months.

Head over to http://copyright.gov.in/ for more information.

Haya Abidi

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