Why should the holder of original work go in for copyright registration? Here are some of the reasons why
Activities like writing a book, making a movie, creating a song or writing a book need a lot of energy and resources. A writer can spend years on one book, and a movie maker may spend crores of rupees to come out with a single hit film. So, if someone decides to copy a novel or make a movie copy of the original, it could cut into the sales of the unique product and lead to losses for the original creator. The individual then seeks the recourse of law to protect their original work from getting copied by getting a copyright registration.
The Copyright Act
The Copyright Act of India protects literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, cinematograph films and sound recordings, however not for an unlimited time. For example, for literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, the copyright is protected until the lifetime of the author plus sixty years. Until then, the ownership rests with the copyright holder, whose consent is required for production or distribution.
Under copyright protection, benefits include the right to reproduction, modification, distribution, public performance and public display.
However, registration is no guarantee against infringement. If the copyright has been violated, it is up to the holder to approach the courts to take legal action. Claims can be verified only in a court of law.
Advantages of copyright law
- Prevention of monetary loss:There are many advantages of copyright registration for the authors of original works. One of the biggest benefits of copyright protection is preventing losses arising from copies being made of the original work. Violation of copyright registration is commonly known as ‘piracy’. In India, all of us are familiar with the word. ‘Pirated’ books, DVDs, music videos are commonly available on the streets of most major cities. Not only are these shoddily produced, but they also lead to enormous losses for publishers and authors. Movies and software are also illegally downloaded and shared through peer-sharing networks.
- Legal protection:There are other benefits that copyright registration gives under the law. The act of registration gives shelter to published work. Without such registration, it becomes difficult to prove the case of the owner in court. For example, a film producer may make a movie that is similar to one that was released earlier. But without copyright registration, it won’t be easy to prove that it was plagiarised in court. The onus is on the creator to prove authenticity.
- Pre-emptive measure:Another one of the benefits of a copyright is that the registration is on record so that it dissuades others from making unauthorized use of your work. If you discover that someone is copying your work, you can send a `cease’ notice. So you don’t have to bother about legal proceedings at a later stage. This saves a lot of time and money.
- The incentive to create:Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of copyright law is that it fosters an atmosphere of creativity and innovation. For example, an information technology company can spend millions developing new software. It will do so in the expectation of making money, and copyright law ensures that it can reap the benefits. Similarly, music companies can create new music without worrying about it being copied and distributed without consent.
- Protecting reputations:By protecting original work, copyright registration ensures that the reputation of their creators/authors is protected. For example, a music composer or author is in a position to prevent shoddy copies of his or her work, preventing any loss of reputation.
- Prestige:Another advantage of copyright protection is that it gives the holder the prestige that a certain work belongs to him or her.
In summary, there are multiple benefits of copyright registration. It encourages creativity and innovation and helps a country grow both in economic as well as cultural terms. However, the record of copyright protection is patchy in many parts of the world, including India.