- What do you mean by Copyright?
Copyright in literary work is a bundle of rights available to the author of the original literary work. The author can re-produce the work in any form, issue copies, perform the work, make a film or a sound recording, make translation or any adaptation. The author having copyright may assign the copyright to any person for consideration. If any person infringes any of the above-mentioned rights available to the author or the owner of copyright, civil or criminal action for such infringement can be initiated.
- Do you have register with some govt. agency to have our copyright on the content created by me?
Copyright becomes available to the author on the first date of publication for published works or on the first date of creation for unpublished work, hence it is not mandatory to register the copyright with any government agency of copyright. However, registration of copyright is prima facie evidence of copyright of the owner.
- Whom do we apply for copyright, I mean which Govt. department we approach?
Copyright is to be registered at a Copyright Office in the Register of Copyrights. The author or publisher or owner in any literary work may make an application to the registrar of copyright for registration.
- Am I the copyright owner of my own book even if do not register with Govt. Agency.?
Yes. Copyright accrues to the owner or author on the date of creation of literary work. Registration is not compulsory.
- Are they any benefit over not applying to Govt. agency for copyright of my content?
Registration of copyright is prima facie evidence of copyright and the extract given by the registrar of copyrights is admissible in evidence in all courts without further proof or production of the original. However, registration is not mandatory and non-registration does not affect any of the rights available to the author or owner or publisher in the work.
- Few people say that I can use one paragraph,7 lines, 300 words in my script without any approval from the copyright owner?
No. this will amount to copyright infringement.
- I have heard stories in various event and also read in many books, can I use the same stories and write in my own words keeping the meaning same. Will that be a copyright violation?
Making adaptions or translations is the exclusive right available to the original author or owner of the copyright. Any story read or heard and directly copied or evasively imitated will amount to a copyright violation. Also refer to answer to Q No 17
- How much of content I can quote from other source?
Content can be quoted from other source as long as credit is given to the source and or author.
- Is there any special method to quote people or use content which will not lead to copyright violation?
There are various acceptable methods of quoting, citing the source such as footnotes, inline citation, intext attribution, Works Cited or References etc.
- I have referred few theories by experts, and used the same in my book, however I have written it in my own word without changing the meaning. Will this be a copyright violation?
A generic answer cannot be provided without inspecting the text. The textmust meet the minimum standards of originality.
- Can I use somebody else’s theory and have my interpretation to that theory?
Yes. Interpretation on other’s theory can be made but the name of the author should be specified in the interpretation. The interpretation must meet the minimum standards of originality.
- Can I use images from google, open source in my book?
Yes, but you do need permission in order to use it. However, Google does not own the images found via Google Search. You must contact the owner of the image (typically whoever first posted the image on the web) and obtain his/her permission in order to use it. The usage rights filter in Advance Search shows you content either labelled with a Creative Commons or similar licence, or is in the public domain. For images, the usage rights filter also shows you images labelled with the GNU Free Documentation licence. Options are:
- Free to use or share
- Free to use or share even commercially
- Free to use share or modify
- Free to use share or modify, even commercially.
- Can I use images from google, where google mentions Labelled for reuse
Labelled for reuse with modification- this means you can use the image as long as you modify it in some way, for example merging two images. Each licence will specify how an image can be used so make sure you read it. The “labelled for commercial reuse” lets you use the image commercially. The “reuse with modification” option grants you the ability to alter the image. A Googlehelp page describes the various licencing and usage options. Google has offered usage rights filtering for images since 2009.
- What kind of content in not allowed to used or punishable by Govt. even after having freedom to speech in a democratic country like India?
As per provision of the Copyright Act and the Information Technology Act, a user shall not post or publish content which
- Belongs to another person and to which the user does not have any right to;
- Is grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, libellous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful or racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever;
- Harm minors in any way;
- Infringes any patent, trademark, copyright or other proprietary rights;
- Violates any law for the time being in force;
- Deceives or misleads the addressee about the origin of such messages or communicates any information which is grossly offensive or menacing in nature;
- Impersonate another person;
- Contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer resources;
- Threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order or causes incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence or prevents investigation of any offence or is insulting any other nation.
- My book in English language and somebody translated it in any other language without my permission, will that be a copyright violation.
Making a translation or adaptation of the original work without permission amounts to infringement and the author may claim civil remedies by way of injunction, damages, accounts and otherwise U/S 55 of the Copyright Act and also initiate criminal prosecution U/S 63 of the Copyright Act where the infringing act is punishable with imprisonment of 6 months to 3 years and fine between 50,000/- to Rs. 2 Lakhs.
- My books are work of fiction and somebody else uses the same story line with little changes here and there and changes all the character names with that still be a copyright violation?
The following general propositions of copyright infringement are laid down by the Hon’ble supreme court.
- There can be no copyright in an idea, subject matter, themes, plots or historical or legendary facts and violation of the copyright in such cases is confined to the form, manner and arrangement and expression of the idea by the author of the copy- righted work.
- Where the same idea is being developed in a different manner, it is manifest that the source being common, similarities are bound to occur. In such a case, the courts should determine whether or not the similarities are on fundamental or substantial aspects of the mode of expression adopted in the copyrighted work. If the defendant’s work is nothing but a literal imitation of the copyrighted work with some variations here and there it would amount to violation of the copyright. In other words, in order to be actionable, the copy must be a substantial and material one which at once leads to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty of an act of piracy.
- One of the surest and the safest test to determine whether or not there has been a violation of copyright is to see if the reader, spectator or the viewer after having read or seen both works is clearly of the opinion and gets an unmistakable impression that the subsequent work appears to be a copy of the original.
- Where the theme is the same but is presented and treated differently so that the subsequent work becomes a completely new work, no question of violation of copyright arises.
- Where however apart from the similarities appearing in the two works there are also material and broad dissimilarities which negative the intention to copy the original and the coincidences appearing in the two words are clearly incidental no infringement of the copyright comes into existence.
- As a violation of copyright amounts to an act of piracy it must be proved by clear and cogent evidence after applying the various tests laid down by decided cases.
- Where however the question is of the violation of the copyright of a stage play by a film producer or a Director the task of the plaintiff becomes more difficult to prove piracy. It is manifest that unlike a stage play a film has a much broader prospective, wider field and a bigger background where the defendants can by introducing a variety of incidents give a colour and complexion different from the manner in which the copyrighted work has expressed the idea. Even so, if the viewer after seeing the film gets a totality of impression that the film is by and large a copy of the original play, violation of the copyrights may be said to be proved.
- How do I transfer my copyright to my estate after my death or will my copyright content become copyright free after 50 years or my death or transfer my rights to my estate after my death?
What is an estate and what is the process to transfer copyright to an estate?
As per Sec 22 the term of copyright in published literacy work is 60 years after the death of the author. The copyright can be assigned in written during the lifetime of the author or by will/ testamentary succession. In case of the author dies intestate i.e. without leaving behind a will, the rights in the copyrighted work shall devolve upon the legal heirs of the author as per laws of succession.