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Indian Copyright Act, 1957

1. Introduction: Copyright is a right given by the law to the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work.
India is a member of the Berne Convention of 1886 (as modified at Paris in 1971), the Universal Copyright Convention of 1951 and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of 1995. Though India is not a member of the Rome Convention of 1961, WIPO Copyrights Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), the Copyright Act, 1957 is compliant with it.
The Copyright Act of 1911 passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom and modified in its application to India by the Indian Copyright Act, 1914. According to this Act, the period of copyright for photographs was 50 years from the time it was first published. This law is still applicable in India for works created prior to 21 January 1958, when the new Copyright Act 1957 came into force.
The Copyright Act, 1957 governs the laws & applicable rules related to the subject of copyrights in India and it become applicable from 21 January 1958. The Copyright Act 1957 was the first post-independence copyright legislation in India and the law has been amended six times since 1957. The copyright was amended in 1984 in order to overcome the problem of wide spread piracy in India. The act was further modified in 1992 and 1994 (No. 38 of 1994). The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1999 officially published in: The Gazette of India, 30/12/1999, No. 49. The most recent amendment was in the year 2012, through the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012.
In accordance with the copyright act of 1957, a copyright office and a copyright board were set up in New Delhi under the auspices of the Government of India of which the copyright board serves as a civil court with the power of adjudicating disputes arising out of claims and counter claims. The copyright board serves as a civil court and its judgment can be challenged only in the high court of the area and in no other lower court.

2. Coverage: Copyright Act 1957 covers Indian work means a literary, dramatic or musical work the author of which is a citizen of India or which is first published in India.
Copyright act includes Artistic work, Musical work, Sound recording, Cinematograph film and Government work.
In case of Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the converge is lifetime of the author + sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies. In case of Anonymous and pseudonymous works, Posthumous work, Cinematograph films, Sound records,     Government work, Public undertakings, International Agencies, Photographs the duration is   until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar years next following the year in which the work is first published.
The copyright law of India gives moral rights to the authors of an original literary work. Moral rights under the Indian Law have been conferred upon the authors of an original work, and include the combination of three rights, viz. Right of Publication; Right of Paternity; and the Right of Integrity. It is significant to note that moral rights stand independent of the economic rights flowing through authorial creations, and vests with the author even after the transfer of his copyright.
Although Government works are copyrighted, the reproduction or publication of act of a Legislature, report of a committee, commission, council, board or other like body appointed by the Government, judgment or order of a court, tribunal or other judicial authority not copy protected.

3. Fair Dealing: What constitutes “fair use” is debatable. However, there are certain factors that govern fair use A literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work (not being a computer programme) can be used under fair dealing for the purpose of research or private study, for criticism or review, for reporting current events,  in connection with judicial proceeding, performance by an amateur club or society if the performance is given to a non-paying audience, and  the making of sound recordings of literary, dramatic or musical works under certain conditions. The fair use is depend on the following points-
a) Purpose and Character of Use: Is it for commercial use or for non-profit educational purposes?
b) Nature of the Copyrighted Work: The fair use principle is generally more indulgent for fact-based works than it is for “fanciful” works, and also is broader for published works than it is for unpublished works.
c) Amount and Substantiality: Third parameter to determine the fair use or fair dealing is qualitative and quantitative. First of all, we have to see the amount which has been taken out from the copyrighted work.
d) Effect of the Use: Effect of use of copyrighted work upon the potential market would be the most important parameter to figure out, whether any specific use of copyrighted work is fair or not.

4. Library Provisions: Section 52 in the Copyright Act, 1957 says that certain acts not to be infringement of copyright. The making of not more than three copies of a book (including a pamphlet, sheet of music, map, chart or plan) by or under the direction of the person in charge of a public library for the use of the library if such book is not available for sale in India is not an infringement.
Libraries and archives are permitted to make up to three copies of unpublished copyrighted works for the purposes of preservation, security or for deposit for research use in another library or archive. Libraries can also make up to three copies of a published work to replace a work in their collection if it is damaged, deteriorated or lost, or the format of which has become obsolete.

5. Fair Use and Disabled Persons: Section 52 which was added by the amendment of 2012 provides that the “adaptation, reproduction and issue of copies or communication to the public of any work in any accessible format” to facilitate persons with disability to access the works is not an infringement of copyright.

6. Civil Liability: Copyright infringement is punishable under section 63 of the Copyright Act. Any person who knowingly infringes or abets the infringement of the copyright in a work, or any other right conferred by the Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to three years and with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees: Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months or a fine of less than fifty thousand rupees.

7. Conclusion: The author or publisher of, or the owner of or other person interested in the copyright in, any work may make an application in the prescribed form accompanied by the prescribed fee to the Registrar of Copyrights for entering particulars of the work in the Register of Copyrights. On receipt of an application in respect of any work under sub-section (1), the Registrar of Copyrights may, after holding such inquiry as he may deem fit, enter the particulars of the work in the Register of Copyrights.

How to Cite this Article?
APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.
Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.
MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.

Badan BarmanDr. Badan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links ( - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the Open Access Journals Search Engine (OAJSE) (, UGC NET Guide (, Assam Archive ( and LIS Study ( website.

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