Introduction to Copyrights


The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.[1]

Explication of the term copyright

A copyright is a validated pronouncement that the owner shall have the exclusive right to reproduce, publish or sell particular artistic work. The copyright is safeguarded by the government, and it envelops original literary work, dramatic (stage and film), artistic, musical and other creations

Copyrights are a form of Intellectual Property that includes creative and original work such as:

  • Literary work
  • Dramatic work
  • Music
  • pantomimes and choreographic works (if written down, or otherwise expressed in tangible medium)
  • Pictorial, sculptural and graphic work
  • Architectural works
  • Motion pictures and other audio-visual works etc.[2]

Inception and Genesis;

The world’s first ever copyright law, was that of the Statute of Anne, that was ordained in England in 1710. This Act introduced the inception of the concept for the author of a work being, the owner of its copyright, and disbursed predetermined terms of protection. Ensuing the Act, copyrighted works were supposed to be mandatorily be submitted at specific copyright libraries, and registered at Stationers’ Hall.  No automatic copyright protection for unpublished works existed

Copyright legislation continued to be uncertain and uncoordinated in international sphere until the 19th century. In the year 1886, the Berne Convention was pioneered to cater for mutual cognizance of copyright amongst the nations, and also to promote and stimulate the burgeoning of the international standards of copyright protection. The Berne Convention isolates the requirement to register works separately and individually in various countries and it has been adopted by invariably all the countries of the world (more than 140 of the approximately 190 nation states of the world). Succeeding the United States’ adoption of the treaty in 1988 this Convention now covers mostly all the major countries. The Berne Convention remains in force to this day, and continues to provide the basis for international copyright law.[3]

Components /corporeality’s not Protected by Copyright

  • Commonly Known Information
  • Ideas, Methods or Systems
  • Names, Titles Short Phrases, and Expressions
  • Choreographic Works

The duration of a copyright differs from one country to another, for India it is 60 years from publication (posthumous works, photographs, cinematograph films, sound recordings, works of public undertakings, and works of international organisations)[4], in US it is, 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation whichever is shorter (anonymous works, pseudonymous works, or works made for hire, published since 1978), etc.

Thus it can be concluded that Copyright entrusts basic protection of the rights of authors/artists/musicians/designers etc. with regards to their creations, thereby rewarding and safeguarding creativity. Creativity is the prerequisite of progress. None of the civilized societies can afford to obliterate the basic necessity of encouraging the same.  Social and economic, development of a society is reliant on creativity. The safeguards bestowed by copyright to the endeavour of writers,  designers, artists, musicians, dramatists ,architects and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films and computer software, creates a zone propitious to creativity, which persuades them to create  and motivates others likewise

-Aeshana Singh

[1] Cambridge University press, Advance learners dictionary,copyright,fourth edition 2014

[2] Kaylin Champlin and content team ,what does a copyright protect, Copyrights (Feb.21,2014, 5:15 PM),

[3] Intellectual Property Rights Office 2006, A brief History of Copyright, Intellectual Property rights office (Feb.21,2014, 5:25 PM),

[4] Smt. P.V. Valsala G. Kutty, Deputy Secretary and Shri T.C. James, Under Secretary, Rationale of copyright protection ,A handbook of copyright law,( Feb.21,2014,5:30PM),