The amendments to Copyright Rules 2013 have been notified by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, vide Notification No. G.S.R 225 (E) dated 30th March 2021, effective from the said date of publication.

Some salient features of the Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2021 ('Amendment Rules') are given hereinbelow:

(1) The 'Copyright Board' is replaced with the 'Appellate Board'. The said amendment will however have to be read with the changes brought about by the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021 published on 4th April 2021 which subsequently replaced the Appellate Board with the Commercial Court or High Court, as the case may be.

(2) There are important amendments surrounding the functioning of copyright societies in the Amendment Rules. Following are some of the significant additions in relation to copyright societies:

(i) Rule 55 (3) - The copyright society in relation to collection of royalty under Rule 55(1) and distribution of royalty under Rule 55(2), shall create a system of payment through electronic modes and shall establish a system through which payments so made are traceable;

(ii) Under Rule 58, the following has been added:

A. Rule 58(11) -The copyright society must ensure that where the royalty cannot be distributed within the time specified in Rule 58(8), as the relevant author or other owner could not be identified or located, such royalties shall be kept separate in accounts of the copyright society;

B. Rule 58(12) - The copyright society must take all necessary measures to identify and locate the authors and other owners and must publish on its website, at the end of every quarter, the following information:

(a) the title of the work;

(b) the name of the author and other right owners of the work, as available; and

(c) any other relevant information available which could assist in identifying the right holder.

C. Rule 58(13) - In case the royalty due to author and other owners remains undistributed at the end of the period of three years from the end of the financial year in which collection of the royalty occurred, the copyright society shall transfer such amount to the welfare fund of the copyright society.

(iii) Requirement of maintaining annual transparency report by the copyright society has been added under Rule 65A:

The annual transparency report must contain the following information, namely:—

(a) report on the activities in the financial year;

(b) number of refusals to grant a licence;

(c) financial information on total royalties collected;

(d) the total royalties paid to author and other owners;

(e) the total royalties collected but not yet attributed to author and other owners;

(f) the total administrative deductions made from royalty collected;

(g) the details and use of the amounts deducted for the activities conducted under the welfare scheme as provided under rule 67; and

(h) Information on amounts received from and paid to the foreign societies or organisation

(3) In respect of registering copyright for a computer programme, Rule 70 earlier required submission of the entire source code and object code of a computer programme. The said Rule 70 is now amended such that only the first 10 pages and last 10 pages of the source code or the entire source code if it is less than 20 pages, with no blocked out or redacted portions, have to be submitted to the Copyright Office.

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