Terms of Copyright

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Generally, the term of copyright is sixty year from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is published or the author dies (in case of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, anonymous and pseudonymous works). The detail of term of copyright for the different type of work is given below.

Term of copyright in published literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works: Except as otherwise hereinafter provided, copyright shall subsist in any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work (other than a photograph) published within the lifetime of the author until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies.

Explanation – In this section, the reference to the author shall, in the case of a work of joint authorship, be construed as a reference to the author who dies last.

Term of copyright in anonymous and pseudonymous works: In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work (other than a photograph), which is published anonymously or pseudonymously, copyright shall subsist until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is first published: Provided that where the identity of the author is disclosed before the expiry of the said period, copyright shall subsist until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies.

The author shall, in the case of an anonymous work of joint authorship, be interpreted as

  1. Where the identity of one of the authors is disclosed, as references to that author;
  2. Where the identity of more authors than one is disclosed, as references to the author who dies last from amongst such authors.

The author shall, in the case of a pseudonymous work of joint authorship, be interpreted as

  1. Where the names of one or more (but not all) of the authors are pseudonymous and his or their identity is not disclosed, as references to the author whose name is not a pseudonym, or, if the names of two or more of the authors are not pseudonyms, as references to such of those authors who dies last;
  2. Where the names of one or more (but not all) of the authors are pseudonyms and the identity of one or more of them is disclosed, as references to the author who dies last from amongst the authors whose names are not pseudonyms and the authors whose names are pseudonyms and are disclosed; and
  3. Where the names of all the authors are pseudonyms and the identity of one of them is disclosed, as references to the author whose identity is disclosed or if the identity of two or more of such authors is disclosed, as references to such of those authors who dies last.

Explanation – For the purposes of this section, the identity of an author shall be deemed to have been disclosed, if either identity of the author is disclosed publicly by both the author and the publisher or is otherwise established to the satisfaction of the Copyright Board by that author.

Term of copyright in the posthumous work: In the case of a literary, dramatic or musical work or an engraving, in which copyright subsists at the date of the death of the author or, in the case of any such work of joint authorship, at or immediately before the date of the death of the author who dies last, but which, or any adaptation of which, has not been published before that date, copyright shall subsist until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is first published or, where an adaptation of the work is published in any earlier year, from the beginning of the calendar year next following that year. A literary, dramatic or musical work or an adaptation of any such work shall be deemed to have been published, if it has been performed in public or if any records made in respect of the work have been sold to the public or have been offered for sale to the public.

Term of copyright in photographs: In the case of a photograph, copyright shall subsist until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the photograph is published.

Term of copyright in cinematograph films: In the case of a cinematograph film, copyright shall subsist until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the film is published.

Term of copyright in records: In the case of a sound recording, copyright shall subsist until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the sound recording is published.

Term of copyright in Government work: In the case of Government work, where Government is the first owner of the copyright therein, copyright shall subsist until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is first published.

Term of copyright in works of public undertakings: In the case of a work, where a public undertaking is the first owner of the copyright therein, copyright shall until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is first published.

Term of copyright in works of international organisations: In the case of a work of an international organisation to which the provisions of section 41 of Indian Copyright Act (Provisions as to works of certain international organisations) apply, copyright shall subsist until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is first published.

Complete Act

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