The copyright regime in India is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Copyright rules, 2013. Copyright can be described as one of the forms of protection for the intellectual property granted to the creators having original works such as literary, artistic, cinematography, sound recording, musical and dramatic. This law is a bundle of exclusive rights and basically protects the expression of ideas by the creator and not just a mere idea. These bundles of rights include the right of adaptation, reproduction, publication, translations etc. The copyright protection begins as soon the work is created, also, the registration for the same is optional but it is advisable for the creator to obtain a registration of his work for better and stronger protection in cases of infringement. In accordance with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation), there are two types of rights which are protected by Copyright, economic and moral rights. The Copyright Rules, 2013 were notified in March’2013 by the Ministry of human resources and development.
COPYRIGHT (AMENDMENT) RULES, 2021:
This amendment was notified by the Central Government recently. These rules were last amended in 2016. The amendments have been introduced with the motive of transparency, clarity and bringing parity between the existing laws and other relevant legislation. The electronic means has now been adopted as the primary source of communication in the Copyright Office with the intention to ensure smooth and impeccable compliance with the technological development in the digital age. The new rules will help India adopt electronic means as the primary mode of communication. These new rules will be helpful for achieving the goals of Digital India. These amendments include:
- The necessity of publication in the Official Gazette has been eliminated and replaced with the copyrights journal. This journal would be available on the website of the copyright office.
- It will be necessary to make an Annual Transparency Report for each and every financial year by the copyright society and will be published on the website ensuring that it remains there for at least three years. It also deals with the use of electronic payment methods which are traceable during the collection and distribution of royalties so as to curb and deal with the undistributed royalty amounts. Further, it must be ensured by the copyright society that where the creator or author is not traceable or identified, the record shall be maintained of such royalties and are to be kept in a separate account of the society. If the royalty is undistributed for a period of three years because the author is not located, counted from the end of the financial year when the said royalty was collected, this amount shall be transferred to the welfare fund of the copyright society.
All necessary actions should be taken by this society to locate the owners of the work and the same must be published at the ending of every quarter on their website. The information shall include: Title, Name of the author and any other important and relevant information which can be helpful in identifying the owner
- The Appellate Board has now been merged with the Copyright Board. The task of this board includes settlement of disputes relating to the registration of a copyright, assignment and licenses pertaining to copyright, the works which are unpublished, production and publication of certain translations and the works for a specific purpose. Also, other miscellaneous matters can also be adjudicated mentioned under the Copyright Act, 1957. The composition and qualification of the Chairman and other people of this board shall be done in accordance with the Trademarks Act, 1999.
- The Chairman and other members of the Copyright Society Council can are eligible and can apply for re-election after the completion of their term of two years
- The conformity requirements for registration of works pertaining to computer programmes will now require the applicant to furnish and file the first and the last 10 pages of the source code or he can file the whole source code if it consists of less than 20 pages having no blocked-out or censored portions.
- The time period afforded to the Registrar of Copyrights has been increased to one hundred and eighty days to either respond pr reject an application for registration of a copyright society.
After analysing these Amended rules of 2021, we can say that they have retained most of the amendments which were proposed in the basic draft of Copyright (Amendment) Rules 2019. The vital key amendments mentioned relate to more transparent and efficient management and functioning of the copyright societies. Although, some of the amendments proposed in the draft rules of 2019 pertaining to internet broadcasting are not implemented which is probably the right thing to do because before adding these particular amendments, the act of Copyright requires certain changes. The interpretational challenge and conundrum with respect to internet broadcasting therefore continue.