Comprehensively Copyright legislation in India has the characteristic of “reservation” and “Quotas” !!!
When the statute was promulgated in 1957 (a decade after the independence) the thrust of the then
planning commission was to promote technological development in printing , cinematographic films, sound
recording etc and primarily to increase the literacy rate in India.
Keeping in mind the requirement of socio-economic structure , Copyright legislation gave benefits to
newspaper proprietors , book publishers and producers that they are the First owners of the Copyright
unless any agreement to the contrary. No doubt as per social structure of India this was necessary but not
now when all the three beneficiaries are megalith powerful conglomerates , however still they want to retain
the same privileges given under the statute. Literacy rate in India has grown to 74 % (2011 figure) from 12%
at the end of British rule in 1947.
Ironically, even after achieving the desired endeavours by all these three segments as per the intention of
the legislation, now when authors demand that the royalty payments should be paid to them from
21st Century , then producers of cinematographic film, sound recording owners , book publishers and
newspaper magnates are squarely pointing towards authors that they are traitors of trust !!!!
Today Newspaper proprietors , Magazine publishers , producers have graduated to Digital dissemination
but they don’t want that the benefits of Section 17 of the Copyright 1957 given to them should be disturbed
!!. On plain reading of the legislation, it’s like telling the Tiger with the intention that if prey can protect on its
own then let him escape !! Practically no authors can bargain or dictate their terms with the capitalist
(newspapers, producers or book publishers) and eventually all the intellectual property contents are with the
OWNERS only. If authors , performers , cinematographers, Directors ,Journalist , artist etc ask for their IP ,
then they will be considered as not trustworthy with the tag that people worked before were good (once
upon a time) and today’s generations are not ethical !!!
Interestingly, nearly after six decades , Copyright Amendment 2012 (hats off to the leaders of music and
film author’s fraternity ) who could manage to make the path and to carve it in the statute that sharing of
royalty to be done in all utilisation of literary and musical work incorporated in Cinematographic and Sound
recording work. However the fate of book authors and journalists are same and all intellectual property are
with the Book publisher / news paper proprietors. Nothing is with the Authors who are putting their labour,
time and energy day and night (unless any agreement to the contrary !!! , the same old story prevailing from
In short, if any comforts and privileges given by the legislation to any sect is disturbed , then the
beneficiaries will not leave it so easily unless the Central Government or Honourable Court intervenes to
put the records and facts straight. This is the situation !
Anyway keeping aside the socio-political theories of media and print industry , the basic fundamentals of
the Copyright in the current age read with International guidelines are mentioned herein-below:
BASIC FUNDAMENTALS OF COPYRIGHT ON WHICH THE WHOLE MECHANISM WORK ACROSS
– First , Copyright is a government granted monopoly for a limited period of time in which authors and
owners are given “exclusive rights” and not absolute rights.
– Second , Public interest is paramount and the ultimate purpose of the Copyright is to enhance public
welfare by encouraging the dissemination of contents.
Third, in these limited periods , Government has enormous power to allow the users by invoking
compulsory licensing and statutory licensing with fair usage exemptions , if knots are irreconcilable.
– Last but not the least , once the terms provided in the statute for different distinctive work(s) comes to an
end , then the respective works [ as per the the terms given for different work(s) ] , falls under Public
Notwithstanding the factors that being encountered, the scheme and arrangement among all the
constituents viz.: Owners , Authors & Users should have the element of win-win situation.
However , the critical point for observation is that in short period of time, United States have evolved from
an Industrial to an information based society and in last one decade the Copyright Industries in the US
surpassed to One Trillion Dollars in terms of US GDP from $ 626 billions in 2002.
Definitely , India too have the capabilities and resources but the mindset to be changed to hold 10% of 1000
Crore Capital instead of 100% ownership in 10 crore capital !!
Therefore, to be in Global standards to attract Foreign Direct Investment , reservations and privileges given
under the Copyright Act to infancy beneficiaries in 1957 like newspaper proprietors, producers and book
publishers to be rearranged drastically at one go and (not in piecemeal) , wherein all the intellectual
property creations by authors (the creators) can also be in the receiving end with the (developers) on
trade-off basis with ultimate object of the legislation to enhance public welfare by encouraging the
dissemination of contents.