Author-Samruddhi Naik,St. Wilfred’s College of Law, Panvel


             Copyright is the sum of literary and artistic work. Intellectual creation of work such as electronic databases, music, literature, sculptures and paintings are protected with copyright. Copyright is the shield that defends the exclusive rights of the creator of the intellectual artistic work. It is an encouragement and relief to the artists, producers, composers and authors to create original work. Copyright is governed by the international convention i.e. Berne Convention, it is the oldest international convention providing protection to copyright.

Keywords: copyright, exclusive rights, moral rights, intellectual property, original work, berne convention


    Copyright protects the rights of the inventors of artistic and literary work by providing them exclusive rights. Copyright protects the works which is novel and showcase the ‘expression of thoughts’. As mentioned above Copyright is regulated by ‘Berne Convention’ which was first assembled in 1886 to protect the work (artistic and literary) and rights of the authors. Copyright need not to be registered as it is protected upon its invention. Copyright tops the list of the other items which comprise Intellectual property. Copyright law provides various rights to the creator such as moral rights and economic rights.

International Agreements Concerning Copyrights

  • Berne Convention, 1886

Berne convention is a treaty that was first established in 1886, with the intention to protect the literary and artistic work along with derivative work. Under this convention, the work is protected for 50 years from the end of the year of the author’s death. But in the case of photographic work the term of protection is 25 years from the work created

  • TRIPS Agreement, 1994

As literary and artistic work is protected under Berne Convention, TRIPS Agreement ensures to protect the computer programs and provide guidelines to protect databases under Berne Convention.

  • WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), 1996

WCT is a special agreement under Berne Convention established to deal with protection of work and rights of authors in digital era.

  • The Marrakesh Treaty, 2013

The Marrakesh Treaty was established in the year 2013 by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with the intention of providing access of published work to the people who are visually impaired, blind or print disabled.

Essentials of Copyright

  • Novelty

Copyright only determines original work. No one can claim copyright in case of duplicate or similar work.

  • Expression of thoughts

As mentioned before, the expression of thoughts is the most essential element as the copyright focuses on protecting the ‘expression of thoughts’ and not just an ‘idea’.

  • Registration

Though the work is protected upon creation, it is always beneficial to register the work.

Types of work covered under copyright

  • Literary work i.e. Books, Novels, Articles etc
  • Artistic work i.e. Paintings, Sculptures etc
  • Derivative work i.e. Adaptations and Translations of existing copyrighted work
  • Musical compositions i.e. Songs, Tunes, Music albums
  • Computer programs & compilations i.e. Software, Databases etc

Rights protected by copyright

  • Economic rights- Economic rights are those rights through which the owner of rights can receive monetary benefit from the use of his work by others. They are transferable and can be assigned ownership rights to others for a sum of money or royalties.
  • Moral rights- Moral rights are the rights that always reside with the owner of the work. They are non-transferable, unlike economic rights. Moral rights protect the integrity of the author of the work.

Infringement of copyrights

Section 51 of the Act deals with infringement of copyright. Infringement of copyright means any person without any license exercises the rights of the owner of the work without taking him/her into consideration. Basically, un-authorized use of someone’s legitimate work is said to be infringement of work.

Remedies against infringement

The legal maxim ‘Ubi jus ibi remediem’ (where there is a right, there is a remedy) plays a vital role in justifying the remedies against infringement of copyright. There are 3 major remedies provided against infringement of copyright and they are as follows: –

  • Civil Remedies
  • Criminal Remedies
  • Administrative Remedies

In a Civil suit, the remedy is granted to the Copyright holder when the infringer is found guilty. Also, Infringement of copyright is not only a civil wrong, but it is an offence and hence, the legitimate holder of copyright can file a criminal suit in which the infringer can be punishable imprisonment or fine or both. Whereas the grant of administrative remedy vest with the Regulatory Copyright Authority.


Copyright plays a vital role in the life of a creator. Creation of a tune, a literature or a software takes a lot of intellectual effort which needs to be protected. Among other items in the list of intellectual property, Copyright safeguards the rights of creators and encourage them to create original work.

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