COPYRIGHT MADE EASY – [ Student Series ]
CME [Student Series] LW 1 – 05
ISSUE / DISTRIBUTION RIGHT IN LITERARY WORK OF
[ Book authors , Film story writers & Lyric writers ]
“Resale rights” under Copyright Act 1957
In India , Copyright amendment of 2012 responded to the growing public awareness on the plight of impoverished artists and authors.
But introducing a legislation and implementing practically are two diverse proposition. “Droit de suite” ( Artist Resale Right ) concept is purely European and there are plethora of litigations that are pending on this issue in western countries itself due to overlapping provisions in European treaties. In the US also, whether to adopt a resale royalty on a national basis remains a subject of continuing debate among State laws and with Federal Copyright principles.
No doubt, the intention of the Copyright legislation characterised as measure of Justice to authors and artists community and accordingly Section 53A got inserted in Copyright act 1957 wherein the author or his legal heirs of the works of painting , sculpture, drawing , manuscript , literary, dramatic and musical should be given resale right protection provided the author was the first owner of the rights under the Act but only in secondary or second sales of price exceeding Rupees Ten thousand.
Further provided that such right shall cease to exist on the expiration of the term of copyright in the work. And further the rates shall be such as the Copyright Board may fix wherein the decision of the Copyright Board in this behalf shall be final subject to the proviso that in no case the share shall exceed ten percent of the resale price.
Interestingly, Section 53A is very specific with the wording “notwithstanding any assignment of copyright in such work” which means author’s right to royalty on equal sharing as per the provisions of Section 18 for literary and musical work included in a cinematographic film and sound recording is not disturbed. However the contentious question will be why addition of musical , dramatic and literary work(s) in Section 53 A ? For instance when a remake right is assigned does the producer has to give from Section 18 & Section 53 A to the authors? Theoretically it’s looks rosy but pragmatically its appears complicated !
In Copyright Act 1957 with the addition of Literary, Dramatic and musical work(s) in Section 53A , inevitably the litigation spectrum will move on to a wider scale because in India the critical issue will be that the right granted is similar to issuing right given for literary , dramatic land musical work. One could plausibly argue that resale right does nothing more than to restrict the first sale doctrine and modify the issue rights to impede the distribution of copyrighted works.
This needs further digging on the provisions of Section 53 A and as of date there is no collective administration society in India to collect and distribute the royalty and in addition no Copyright Board exist as of date.
Anyway, students are advised to restrict their knowledge to understand the basics of “Droit de suite” – Artist Resale Right theoretically for examination purpose ( and advanced level let’s leave it to the practicing lawyers ) and as such for this article is concerned we are on the elementary premise that literary work” created by the author and all copyrights are with him , not assigned to anyone.
Next in continuation “Mechanical Rights” ?