COPYRIGHT MADE EASY – [ Student Series ]
CME [Student Series] LW 1 – 09
Translation exclusive rights given under Section 14(a)(v) of the Copyright Act 1957 is one of the important revenue generation as of date to the literary community.
Practically it’s a derivative work because it exists in relation to an original work. Even though its derivative but translations are eligible for Copyright as an ORIGINAL WORK because for translation work also it involves considerable creative effort , skill and labour on the part of the translator.
However , in a country like India with multiple languages in place which requires no explanations , the royalty payments to authors on translation work by publishers and/or producers are in dismal condition even today. The primary reason for this predicament is because from inception of the statute all the rights are with the publishers and/ or producers only ( unless any agreement to the contrary which rarely happens as rarest exceptions in real life). Probably this reservations (as infancy privileges) were given to the publishers and producers because it was necessary for the growth and development of the country on socio-economic standpoint during the initial stages of the independence. Unfortunately , to withdraw the initial support or reservations given to publishing and producer community (even after they becoming self reliant) is a formidable task for Government and Parliamentarians. Neither Publisher nor the Producer wants to severe the comfort zones of literary reservations earmarked to them from 1957!
Interestingly after around 60 years of Copyright Act promulgation , in the recent amendment of 2012 , legislation has taken a bold step “to change” the existing practice by opening a window for literary work of Cinematograph film and sound recording. However, for book authors , the plight is same as they cannot claim the royalty unless (any agreement the contrary which runs like a disclaimer) from the date when statute was framed . Nevertheless, if book author’s literary work are used for audio books then the right to royalty as provided under Section 18 & 19 of Copyright Act 1957 will come to play. For detail please refer to our article –
In short – book authors do not have any right once they signed the dotted line (unless they have saved it while negotiating with the publisher). For Literary work if they are incorporated in sound recording or cinematographic work then the assignor(s) (as per the contractual obligations) have to share the royalty statutorily from the utilisation in al form.
In India ,today millions of Dollars worth remake rights are transacted across the country. In last one decade the Acquistion cost has gone up from few lacs to multi crores. Do the producers or publishers share the proceeds generated from such utilisation to authors ? Certainly one of the essential ingredient of the exclusive right which get transferred in the remake right transaction is the “translation right” but revenue sharing as provided in the legislations are in books only and as per our research , no suit is filed in any courts on this remake right subject praying for ad-interim injunction on payment of royalty to literary authors.
From the “Works” as defined under the Copyright Act 1957, one among is “literary work” having the largest life span that may run to minimum three generations because pursuant Chapter V , Section 22 of Copyright Act 1957 the term of Copyright in published literary work, Copyright shall subsist within the lifetime of the author until 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies. Which means suppose the author dies is 2016 though he may have written and published anytime during his lifetime but for calculation purpose, the 60 years term will start from 2017 and it will be in public domain in the year 2078 because till 2077 it’s under the term of Copyright.
This particular article is centred on Literary work series of Book authors, lyric writers and film story writers . Students are advised to understand the rights of the above classified authors only with the assumptions that all the copyrights are with them and they have not decided to assign or license. Once you gauge what all rights the literary authors have with them then it would be easy to connect what all they are giving and how it will be assigned during the term of Copyright which will be explained in subsequent articles.
We are getting numerous letters and mails from literary authors ( domestic and international ) connected to Indian Copyright on their personal experiences but we are extremely sorry for not responding as the trust is essentially of practicing lawyers who are engaged on their day to day Court proceedings. However, we are examining those correspondences seriously for our research purposes and we assure you that at appropriate time efforts will be made to address the perennial issue with associations and Government authorities.]