Each and every day millions of people are engaged in writing books, articles , short stories, developing drawing materials , conceptualising business plans , making music , creating sound recording , producing cinematographic films , video films etc. First thing which comes in mind to any author is that the pain that being taken to write or to develop should not be stolen by some third party and an immediate registration should be done.
Here is the myth – that to get protection one has to do the registration with some recognised body or with the Government !! Let be amply clear that ( in particular) Copyright law in India does not have any statutory requirement as such Copyright registration is concerned. This is the case globally also as of date in most of the countries those who are members of the Berne treaty.
Now the question which comes immediately is that , why various writers associations across the country or for that matter , #CopyrightOffice, Ministry of HRD carry on these registration formalities ??? Their answer will be simple that Copyright is essentially voluntary and many Copyright owners choose not to register but those who are doing they can establish prime-facie validity of the Copy-right. But legally speaking it does not help in anyway because act of registration does not create a Copyright instead the day when an author fixes his original work in a tangible medium of expression the Copyright begins. Moreover, registration could or may have been beneficial before but not in this digital era.
As the statutory language indicates , copyright subsists in ” work of authorship”. Thus, a Copyright comes into existence when an author takes the step of placing his original work on a material object such as piece of paper, digital media or even on a leaf. After creating the work in this manner the author may register in the Copyright office but the act of registration does not create the Copyright. Therefore, a copyright springs into existence when original work of authorship and the material object merge through the act of fixation. This fixation theory is very critical but Copyright Act 1957 has not defined specifically and this is left it for interpretations by Counsels in the Court. As per the U.S. Laws are concerned for a work whose country of origin is a Berne convention country (like India) then registration is not required for bringing an infringement suit in America. Ergo, it can be safely concluded that registration of copyright does not help in anyway.
However, simple way to protect your original work of authorship is to mail it in ur own email ID , put it in a different folder and store it in ur iCloud or Dropbox or sugar sync or whichever server u prefer. Now suppose, somebody steals from ur desk and goes to any of the Government or private organisation and get it registered. Can this person claim that he is the original author ?? Not at all because u have the evidence with time and date of your e mail to show it to the court at the time of infringement law suit. If u have this e mail record with you, any attorney can defend you comfortably at the time of any plagiarism.
Hence, no provision in the Act deprives an author of his rights thereunder merely for non-registrations of his Copyright. I am not detailing with legal jargon in this article to make it lengthy and complicated as the purpose of this note is to disseminate the information as simple as possible. However any avid reader wants more points to read they can google it to find in the following matters on the context explained above :
1. Nav Sahitya Prakash v Anand Kumar – Allahabad High Court 1981
2. A. Sundarashan v. AC Thirulokchander – Madras High Court
3. Satsang v. K Chandra Mukopadyaya – Calcutta High Court
4. Mishra Babdhu Karyalaya v. S Koshal 1970 – Madhya Pradesh High Court
5. Kumari Kanaka v. Sundarian 1972 – Kerala High Court etc.
So to bring to a decision , you are advised that , whatever u write or develop , don’t forget to e mail it to u and place it in a separate folder of your server or hard drive for records.