Copyright Laws Definition The 2012 Amendment
Copyright Laws is indispensable for the evolution of human civilization. Economic and social developments are the inevitable results of creative progression of humanity. In this context, it is relevant to state that the laws relating to copyrights are there to ensure the basic minimum safeguards that protect and reward creativity.
We know that copyrights are a bundle of legal rights created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original creative work exclusive right to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute. There are limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. The use of an underlying work in a film other than in conjunction with the film would involve the exploitation of the underlying work through such media as video clips, wallpapers and ring tones. One of the media which could potentially come into play is the exploitation of the work through a cover version.
In May 2012, both houses of the Indian Parliament unanimously placed their seal on the Copyright Amendment Bill, 2012, bringing Indian copyright law into compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization “Internet Treaties”.The 2012 amendments make Indian Copyright Law compliant with the Internet Treaties – the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). In addition, while introducing technological protection measures, the amended law ensures that fair use survives in the digital era by providing special fair use provisions. The amendments have made many author-friendly amendments, special provisions for disabled, amendments facilitating access to works and other amendments to streamline copyright administration.
The Copyright laws Amendment Act, 2012 brought about the following changes, which make it more difficult to produce cover versions:
1) The period after which a cover version can be made has been increased from 2 years to 5 years.
2) The requirement of the same medium as the original. So if the original is on a cassette, the cover cannot be released on a CD.
3) Payment to be made in advance, and for a minimum of 50000 copies. This can be lowered by Copyright Board having regard to unpopular dialects.
4) While earlier it was prohibited to mislead the public (i.e., pretend the cover was the original, or endorsed by the original artists), now cover versions are not allowed to “contain the name or depict in any way any performer of an earlier sound recording of the same work or any cinematograph film in which such sound recording was incorporated”.
5) All cover versions must state that they are cover versions.
6) No alterations are allowed from the original song, and alteration is qualified as ‘alteration in the literary or musical work’.
7) So no imaginative covers in which the lyrics are changed or in which the music is reworked are allowed without the copyright owners’ permission. Only note-for-note and word-for-word covers are allowed.
8) Alterations were allowed if they were “reasonably necessary for the adaptation of the work”. but now they are only allowed if it is “technically necessary for the purpose of making the sound recording”.
The amended section mandates that the person making cover versions maintain registers and books of account in respect of the cover versions, which include full details of the existing stock. He must also allow the owner of rights or his duly authorized agent/representative to inspect all such records and the books of account. A complaint may be brought before the Copyright Board that the person making cover versions has not paid, in full, the amount contemplated by this proposed provision. If the Copyright Board is prima facie satisfied that the complaint is genuine, it may pass an ex preorder directing the person making cover versions to cease from doing so and, after making an inquiry, as it considers necessary, the Copyright Board may pass necessary orders, which may include an order for the payment of royalty.
Therefore, if a cover version is made without the permission of the owner of the original work, the owner gets the right to file a suit for infringement of moral rights on grounds of distortion, mutilation or modification of the original work. In order to avoid all the exertion, it is better to be on guard against unnecessary lawsuits and get individuals cover versions copyrighted by following the process stipulated by the copyright law as it stands after the amendment.