Copyright is an exclusive right to do or to authorize others to do some acts with respect to a work created by a person. The work may be literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, video, computer programs, databases etc.

Though any list, which tries to include all the works, that are subject matter of protection under the copyright may prove insufficient.

The BERNE CONVENTION (1886), which is perhaps the oldest convention to govern copyright says as following:

  • "the expression 'literary and artistic works' shall include every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression, such as books, pamphlets and other writings, lectures, addresses, sermons and other works of the same nature, dramatic or dramatico musical works; choreographic works and entertainments in dumb show; musical compositions with or without words; cinematographic works to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to cinematography; works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving and lithography; photographic works, to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to photography; works of applied art; illustrations , maps, plans, sketches and three-dimensional works relative to science or architecture.
  • Translations, adaptations, arrangements of music and other alterations of a literary or artistic work shall be protected as original works without prejudice to the copyright in the original work.  Collections of literary or artistic works such as encyclopedias and anthologies which, by reason of the selection and arrangement of their contents, constitute intellectual creations shall be protected as such, without prejudice to the copyright in each of the works forming part of such collections."


  • The requirements for getting a copyright are not very strict and complex. The object of copyright law is to protect the author of the work from unlawful and unscrupulous persons who may exploit the copyrighted work by reproducing it. 
  • Copyright has assumed importance today.  Earlier the commercial use was not intended but fame and personal satisfaction was paramount objective.  Son in order to regulate the rights, duration, liabilities of a copyright holder a statute was enacted in India called THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957.  This act spells out the process to register a copyright, it has a Registrar which accepts applications and copy of the work for record, issues certificates.
  • The act also spells the subject matter of copyright, Term of copyright, Authors and Owners of copyright, Rights conferred by copyright, How to assign, transfer and relinquish  a copyright, How to license, what is Infringement of copyright, what are remedies against an Infringement of a copyright, International copyright, Rights of Boardcasting Organisations and Performance, Registration of copyright, offences, Appeals etc.
    • The first and the foremost requirement is originality i.e. it should not be derived from another work. As the film director of Bollywood say "inspired" by a Hollywood film. Originality should not be confused with novelty. A work may be original even though it resembles any other work. Here important point to be noted is that there is no copyright of an idea out on expression. For example I have an idea of a seashore with ship and sun set now this is an idea and this is not protected but the moment I draw a picture on a paper or with help of computer or write a poem on it, that very moment I acquire a copyright.  Originality means without substantial similarity. 
    • The second requirement is that it should be in some tangible form and attached to any medium.  That medium can be paper, CD, magnetic tape, plastic or even rock.  To get a copyright one has to apply skill, labour human or other capital judgement, compilation, collection etc.  The work may appear foolish, inaccurate or ridiculous, but this is not a ground for non-grant of copyright.  For example if I write a song or a poem which may sound distasteful to audience, but still I can get copyright provided I have applied some skill, labour, human capital or qualities, judgement etc.  
    • The third requirement is that the work, which is expressed in any tangible medium will be such as it can be perceived, reproduced or communicated later on, either as such or with help of any medium. Like a software that in attached to an electronic medium or web-site on a server is capable of perceived, reproduced and communicated and it is of permanent nature.  Here the permanent nature is in conjunction with the intention of the author to save his expression.  So to summarize the requirements of copyright one has to look for originality requirements in terms of "independent creation" with some element of "creativity".  

So if two authors write a story, which could resemble similar, yet without having read others work would be called original.  It is said that calculus a branch of mathematics was developed by NEWTON in England and LEIBIZ in Germany both did it independently and thus both are given credit for their contribution.

Copyright is not granted to words or phrases like names, titles, abbreviations, familiar shapes, symbols and designs, slight variation of ornamentation and arrangement, lettering, colouring, contents etc.

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