Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work.

Copyright ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity. Creativity being the keystone of progress, no civilized society can afford to ignore the basic requirement of encouraging the same. Economic and social development of a society is dependent on creativity. The Protection provided by copyright to the efforts of writers, artists, designers, dramatists, musicians, architects and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films and computer software, creates an atmosphere conducive to creativity, which induces them to create more and motivates others to create.

The copyright Act, 1957 protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings from unauthorized uses. Unlike the case with patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the ideas. There is no copyright in an idea.

Copyright does not ordinarily protect titles by themselves or names, short word combinations, slogans, short phrases, methods, plots or factual information. Copyright does not protect ideas or concepts. To get the protection of copyright a work must be original.

A work means any of the following, namely, a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, a cinematograph film, or a sound recording.

Work of joint authorship” means a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of one author is not distinct from the contribution of the other author or authors.

Copyright subsists throughout India in the following classes of works:-
(a) Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works;
(b) Cinematograph films; and
(c) Sound recordings.

An artistic work means-
(a) A painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan), an engraving or a photograph, whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality.
(b) a work of architecture; and
(c) any other work of artistic craftsmanship.

”Musical work” means a work consisting of music and includes any graphical notation of such work but does not include any words or any action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the music. A musical work need not be written down to enjoy copyright protection.

“Sound recording” means a recording of sound from which sounds may be produced regardless of the medium on which such recordings is made or the method by which the sounds are produced. A phonogram and a CD- ROM are sound recordings.

“Cinematograph Film” means any work of visual recordings on any medium produced through a process from which a moving image may be produced by any means and includes a sound recording accompanying such visual recording and “Cinematograph” shall be construed as including any work produced by any process analogous to cinematography including video films.

“Government work” means a work which is made or published by or under the direction or control of-
(a) the government or any department of the government.
(b) by legislature in India, and
(c) any court, tribunal or other judicial authority in India.

“Indian work” means a literary, dramatic or musical work,-
(a) the author of which is a citizen of India; or
(b) which is first published in India; or
(c) the author of which, in the case of an unpublished work is, at the time of making of the work, a citizen of India.