Intellectual Property Right is a legal right that is granted to owners for a specific period of time to protect their original work from unauthorized use.


Copyright is one of the intellectual property rights which is automatically provided to the author or creator of original work, which gives them the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the copyrighted work1.

Copyright subsists in following original works:

  • Literary works
  • Dramatic works
  • Musical works
  • Artistic works
  • Cinematographic works
  • Sound recording

Copyrights protect two types of rights:

  1. Economic rights: which allow the owner to derive financial reward from the use of their work by others.
  2. Moral rights: which allow the owner of the original work to take certain actions to preserve and protect their work.

Term of Copyright

Copyright protection is granted to the author for a limited period, i.e. Life of Author + 60 Years.

Importance of Copyright

  • It gives exclusive rights to the owner of original work to reproduce, duplicate, transcribe, and translate the work.
  • The owner can prevent the misuse of their original work and can take legal action if infringement takes place.
  • The owner has the sole right to get monetary benefits from their work.
  • Encourages society for creativity as owners enjoy the benefits and protection of their creative work.

Copyright Infringement

Owners develop new work and get copyright protection to ensure that they can get profit from their efforts. Owner has sole authority either to sell his work or to license it to the third party who can make use of his work but if someone duplicates or reproduces the work of copyright holder without the latter's permission, then this can lead to copyright infringement, in which owner can take legal action against the infringer.

Exception to Infringement under Sec.52 of The Copyright Act, 1957

  • Private or personal use, including research
  • Criticism or review, whether of that work or any other work
  • The reporting of current events and current affairs, including the reporting of a lecture delivered in public.

Remedies for Infringement of Copyright

  1. Civil remedy: According to Section 55 of The Copyright Act, 1957, where copyright in any work has been infringed upon, the owner of the copyright shall be entitled to all such remedies by way of injunction, damages, & accounts.
  2. Criminal remedy: According to Section 63 of The Copyright Act, 1957, the copyright holder can take criminal proceedings against the infringer, in which there is a provision of at least six-month imprisonment, which may be extended to 3 years and with a fine of Rs. 50,000, which may extend to 2 lakhs.

Provided that if the defendant proves that at the date of the infringement he was not aware and had no reasonable ground for believing that copyright subsisted in the work, the plaintiff shall not be entitled to any remedy for the whole or part of the profits made by the defendant by the sale of the infringing copies as the court may in the circumstances deem reasonable.

Power of police to seize infringing copies:

Any police officer, not below the rank of a sub-inspector, may, if he is satisfied that an offence under section 63 in respect of the infringement of copyright in any work has been committed, can seize copies without a warrant to produce before Magistrate.


The purpose of copyright is to protect the rights of the owners of original work and provide economic benefits to them for their creativity and diligence. Although the registration of work is not necessary, but it is highly recommended to register as soon as one's idea is transforming into writings as it will be strong proof to be presented before the court in case of infringement. Therefore, it is strongly advised to avoid plagiarism.


1. The Copyright Act 1957

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.