Everything About Copyright

Copyright - The Right Not To Copy

When you express your ideas through a literary, scientific, musical or artistic work, you are the owner of that work and you are free to decide on its use. Copyright is that legal right given to you for protecting your work by prohibiting the unauthorized use of your work.

Copyright includes literary works such as novels, reference works, poems, newspapers, plays and computer programs and artistic work as well, such as drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture. Works such as films, choreography, sound recordings, musical compositions, architecture, maps, advertisements, web pages and technical drawings are also protected by copyrights. As a whole, anything someone creates and puts into a tangible form is copyrighted.

Copyright comprises of two main rights - the economic rights and the moral rights. The economic rights provide the owner the rights to replicate, broadcast, distribute, translate, publicly perform, recite or display his work, whereas the moral rights comprise of the right to object to any modification, distortion or mutilation of his work.

Exercising these rights means that the author or the owner can use the work himself or can give consent to someone else to use the work or can forbid someone else from using the work. Copyright protected works cannot be used without the endorsement of the owner. The term of protection is the creator's lifetime and a minimum of fifty years after his death.

However, there are certain materials which cannot be copyrighted or do not fall under copyright law. For example mere ideas and choreographic works; performances or speeches that have not been written or recorded cannot be copyrighted. Works consisting information that is common property and comprising no original authorship such as calendars, tables or lists taken from public documents or other common sources are also not regarded as copyright materials.

The Copyright Act gives the owner the right to transfer ownership by sale by rental or by lending. It is illegal to defy any of the rights provided by the copyright law. Only the author or those authorized by the author can lawfully assert copyright. Copyright is subjected to various state regulations and laws that govern the ownership, legacy, or transfer of copyright materials as well as terms of contracts or conduct of business.

Once an idea has been given a tangible form, it is immediately copyrighted. It is not necessary to place a copyright notice on a work but if placed it does serve as a warning.

The law authorizes copyright owner to replicate the work, to perform the work in public or to translate the work. In case of a computer program, copyright owner can sell or give on rent the copy of the computer program.

Copyright is violated when a person who does not have the authority does something which only the owner of the copyright has the right to do. When a person uses a copyrighted work to the public without the permission of the owner, then it is also a violation of the copyright. The punishment for this violation according to the Copyright Act includes imprisonment for six months to three years, and a fine of fifty thousand to two lacs. If the violation has not been made for any kind of profit in a trade or business, then the person will be imprisoned for less than six months or will be imposed a fine less than fifty thousand.

Copyright is intended to promote learning and the progress of science and arts by protecting a creator's form of expression. This way authors and other creators of arts are encouraged if they know their works are protected from unauthorized copying. It thus provides a balance between providing motivation to authors of original works and ensuring a free flow of information.

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