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How to File For Copy Right



HowtoFileForCopyRight


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How to File for a Copyright


Although copyright is automatically given to the creator of an original work, copyright registration establishes a public claim making it easier to prove ownership.

Registration Process

Step-1: Determine the type of work that you wish to copyright: Works can include musical composition, visual art, book, recipe, multimedia work, etc. Visit the Copyright Office website to determine the exact category under which your work falls before requesting an application.

Step-2: Contact the Copyright Office to request an application.

Step-3: Fill out the application.

Step-4: Mail the original application along with a filing fee and a copy of the work to be filed in the Library of Congress.

Step-5: You will usually receive a certificate of registration within 6 months.

FAQS -----Frequently Asked Questions

Is it compulsory for a program to be published to receive Copyright protection?

No. Copyright applies to both published and unpublished works.

What are the rights available through Copyright protection?

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to do or authorize the doing of any of the following in respect of a work or any substantial part thereof:

A. In case of a literary, dramatic or musical work not being a computer program,

• To reproduce the work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means;

• To issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in publication;

• To perform the work in public, or communicate it to the public;

• To make any cinematographic film or sound recording in respect of the work;

• To make any translation of the work;

• To make any adaptation of the work;

B. In the case of a computer program,

• To do any of the acts specified in para (A) above.

• To sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire a copy of the computer program, regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions. It may be noted that Copyright confers a number of rights, some or all of which can be granted to others either exclusively or non-exclusively.

What are the exceptions to these rights?

So far as it relates to computer programs, the making of copies or adaptation of a computer program by the lawful possessor of a copy of such computer program, from such a copy -

• In order to utilise the computer program for the purpose for which it was supplied; or

• To make backup copies purely as a temporary protection against loss, destruction or damage in order only to utilise the computer program for the purpose for which it was supplied; shall not constitute an infringement of copyright.

Is this exception applicable to all program users?

No. These exceptions apply only when a computer program is sold (title to the program copy passes); they do not apply when a program copy is licensed as the licensee may waive the defences.

A licensee has only those rights that are specified in the license agreement.

Can a licensee of a computer program copy, sell or rent the program?

Unless authorized by the Copyright owner, a computer program licensee does not have the right to lend or otherwise transfer program copy.

How should I obtain Copyright protection for my company's software?

Copyright subsists in all original published or unpublished literary works; 'literary work' includes computer programs, tables and compilations including computer databases in any tangible form. You would therefore, have to do nothing but to record the program on some tangible medium to get copyright protection. Copyright protection, is automatic from the moment the work is embodied in some medium like ROM, Magnetic Tape, diskette or paper.

Is it true that I do not have to register my program with the Copyright Office to get Copyright protection?

As per the Indian law, you do not necessarily have to register with the Copyright Office to get Copyright protection. Registration of any program is however a good idea.

In what way would registration with the Copyright Office be helpful?

Registration with the Copyright office is helpful in an infringement suit. As per the Copyright Act, the Registers of Copyrights shall be prima facie evidence of the particulars entered therein and documents purporting to be copies of any entries therein, or extracts there from certified by the Registrar of Copyrights and sealed with the seal of the Copyright Office shall be admissible in evidence in all courts without proof or production of the original.

What is the deposit requirement for Copyright registration purposes?

The Copyright Law requires the deposit of three complete copies of works whether published or unpublished. For works in machine-readable form only, "identifying portions" rather than complete works may be deposited. In the case of computer programs, it is helpful (or usual) to deposit the first and last few pages (say first 25 pages and the last 25 pages) of source code plus the page containing the Copyright notice, if included. However, depositing the entire work has its own advantage and should be considered.

Is there a possibility of divulging the trade secrets through deposit of source code?

Although the Copyright Office has procedures designed to protect trade secrets but once the Copyright is registered, the work is open to public inspection. For this reason, it advisable, as aforesaid, only to file a small extract of the computer program rather than the full program itself. It is important however to know that the part of the computer program which is not being filed would remain the trade secret of the owner and can be subject matter of a protection against any person who wrongfully obtains and utilises the said program.

In some of the programs, the screen could be the most commercially significant aspect. Is it necessary to register the program screen separately from the underlying code?

Generally, all copyrightable expression embodied in a computer program; including screen displays, can be protected. However, unlike a computer program, which is a literary work, screen displays are artistic works and cannot therefore be registered in the same application as that covering the computer program. A separate application giving graphic representations of all copyrightable elements of the screen display is necessary.

What notice needs to be put on computer program copies to seek Copyright protection?

When authority of the Copyright owner publishes a work, a notice of Copyright may be placed on publicly distributed copies. As per the Berne Convention for protection of literary and artistic works, to which India is a signatory, use of Copyright is optional. It is however, a good idea to incorporate a Copyright notice.

How is a Copyright notice displayed?

A Copyright notice consists of the following:

• The symbol c (letter c in a circle) or the word Copyright

• The year of first publication, and

• The copyright owners name.

An example of notice: © 2000 Legal Service India.

What is an ideal place to display a Copyright notice?

The Copyright notice should be placed on computer program copies in such a way as to give reasonable notice of the claimant of Copyright. As an example, the notice could be placed on the title page of program's written documentation and at the user terminal at sign on. Failure to give notice of Copyright does not destroy Copyright protection provided:

• The notice has been omitted from a relatively few publicly distributed copies;

• Copyright registration is made within six years after first publication without a notice and a reasonable effort is made to add notice to copies already publicly distributed, or

• The notice was omitted in violation of an express agreement, in writing, by which the Copyright owner authorized another to distribute the program publicly.

As already brought out earlier, as per the Berne convention, use of Copyright notice is optional.

Who owns the Copyright in a computer program?

An individual author who writes a program initially is the owner of Copyright. A program developed by several individuals, in which the contribution of one author is not distinct from the contribution of the others i.e. a work of joint authorship, all the individuals are joint authors and own the Copyright jointly.

If employee/employees in a company develop a program, do they own the Copyright?

No. In the case of a program made in the course of author's employment under a contract of service or apprenticeship, the employer shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the Copyright.

Is there some special registration to claim Copyright protection for programs written by employees?

No, but the employer should be listed as the 'author' in Form IV (Application for registration of Copyright) and Statement of Particulars in the forms available with Registrar of copyrights. For this purpose, information at serials 7, 11, 12 and 13 in the Statement of Particulars should be carefully filled.

For Copyright purposes, how is an 'employee' defined?

For the purpose of ascertaining whether a hired party is an 'employee' or an independent third party contractor, one has to consider that the hiring party has the right to control the means and the manner by which work is created. Some of the factors to determine if controls exist are-

• where the programming is performed

• whose equipment is used

• the method of remuneration

• the duration of relationship between the parties

• whether the commissioning party has the right to assign additional projects

• who provides the benefits etc.

Also note that no single factor will be determinative.

If an independent third party develops a program for a company, who owns the Copyright?

Works created by third parties on commission do not automatically vest the Copyright in the commissioning party. If the third party is an independent contractor, it is essential for the commissioning party to obtain the Copyright through a written deed of assignment.

It is a common misconception that the Copyright automatically belongs to the commissioning party. Thus it is only where the developer is an employee creating the work under a contract of service that the rights belong to the employer.

What is the rule for the transfer of Copyright right?

The owner of the Copyright in an existing work or prospective owner of the Copyright in a future work may assign to any person the Copyright, either wholly or partially in the following manner -

• for the entire world or for a specific country or territory; or

• relating to all the rights comprising the Copyright or only a part of such rights.

How long does the Copyright protection last?

For individual authors Copyright protection lasts for the author's life plus sixty years.



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