Copyright is a form of Intellectual Property Rights that typically denote a right of ownership granted over one’s creative work. Copyright is a legal right that is created to endow ownership of a particular creative work that is original. A copyright is used to control and regulate the use and distribution of such works. Copyrights are limited by time and are subject to the concept of fair use and lex loci. Normally the duration of a copyright last through the creator’s life plus 50 to 100 years, depending on the jurisdiction.
Different countries have different laws governing copyrights, however, many national copyright laws have been standardized through international copyright laws. Copyright law comes under the ambit of civil jurisdiction in most cases.
In India Copyright Law is governed bytheCopyright Act, 1957. During May 2012, the Indian Parliament passed the Copyright Amendment Bill, 2012, bringing Indian copyright law into consonancewith the World Intellectual Property Organization “Internet Treaties”, as a welcome change to bring India on a par with the rest of world in this respect.
Section 13 of the Copyright Act, 1957 confers protection on all types of literary work, dramatic works, musical works, dramatic works, artistic works, cinematographic works and musical works. In other words, Copyright refers to a bundle of exclusive rights vested in the owner of the Copyrighted work. These rights can be sold or licensed out by the owner of such rights. Copyright includes the right of adaptation, right of reproduction, right of publication and the right to make translations.
The music and film industry in India arehuge industriesthat churns out loads of cinematic and musical work every year. It is common practice for Indian film producers to work on a work-for-hire basis, employing songwriters, composers and singers for a fixed fee, which deniesthem revenues from other sources such as cover versions and especially ringtones, which have become increasingly lucrative. This leaves the rights in the composed music with the producer rather than with the music composer or the original creator. The scope of Copyright Law in India in relation to music has increased in manifolds and is expected to become an inevitable subject to the growing need for protecting this form of intellectual property.
As per the latest copyright law amendments in this regard, the revised bill declares authors or song creators as owners of the copyright, which cannot be assigned to the producers in contrast to the earlier practice. The amendments make it mandatory for broadcasters to pay a royalty to the owners of the copyright each time their work is broadcast.
The new law also makes laws in relation to music piracy more stringent. In the age of the internet, music piracy is a big menace to the music industry. The latest provision provides for a fine and a two-year imprisonment for all piracy related offenses. The law also provides protection to Internet providers in case of “transient or incidental storage of a work or performance for the purpose of providing electronic links, access, or integration,” under reasonable grounds. These have been appreciated as welcome steps in tackling the exploitation faced by music composers hitherto and as an effort to make copyright law in music in India free of loopholes.
The amendments in relation to Copyrights, particularly in music,is a very good effort to safeguard the rights and the talent of genuinely talented music composers in India who have been exploited for years. This move has actually created a better environment for creativity and has professionalized Indian music industry to bringit on a par with the other leading music industries in the world.