The Copyright Act, 1957/Chapter 1

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The Copyright Act, 1957
by the Parliament of India
Chapter I

THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957

No. 14 of 1957

[4th June, 1957]

An Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to copyright.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:—


CHAPTER I

Preliminary

1. (1) This Act may be called the Copyright Act, 1957.Short title, extent and commencement.

(2) It extends to the whole of India.

(3) It shall come into force on such[1] date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—Interpretation.

(a) "adaptation" means,—
(i) in relation to a dramatic work, the conversion of the work into a non-dramatic work;
(ii) in relation to a literary work or an artistic work, the conversion of the work into a dramatic work by way of performance in public or otherwise;
(iii) in relation to a literary or dramatic work, any abridgement of the work or any version of the work in which the story or action is conveyed wholly or mainly by means of pictures in a form suitable for reproduction in a book, or in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical; and
(iv) in relation to a musical work, any arrangement or transcription of the work;
(b) "architectural work of art" means any building or structure having an artistic character or design, or any model for such building or structure;
(c) "artistic work" means—
(i) 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;
(ii) an architectural work of art; and
(iii) any other work of artistic craftsmanship;
(d) "author" means,—
(i) in relation to literary or dramatic work, the author of the work;
(ii) in relation to a musical work, the composer;
(iii) in relation to an artistic work other than a photograph, the artist;
(iv) in relation to a photograph, the person taking the photograph;
(v) in relation to a cinematograph film, the owner of the film at the time of its completion; and
(vi) in relation to a record, the owner of the original plate from which the record is made, at the time of the making of the plate;
(e) "calendar year" means the year commencing on the 1st day of January;
(f) "cinematograph film" includes the sound track, if any, and "cinematograph" shall be construed as including any work produced by any process analogous to cinematography;
(g) "delivery", in relation to a lecture, includes delivery by means of any mechanical instrument or by radio-diffusion;
(h) "dramatic work" includes any piece for recitation, choreographic work or entertainment in dumb show, the scenic arrangement or acting form of which is fixed in writing or otherwise but does not include a cinematograph film;
(i) "engravings" include etchings, lithographs, wood-cuts, prints and other similar works, not being photographs;
(j) "exclusive licence" means a licence which confers on the licensee or on the licenses and persons authorised by him, to the exclusion of all other persons (including the owner of the copyright), any right comprised in the copyright in a work; and "exclusive licensee" shall be construed accordingly;
(k) "Government work" means a work which is made or published by or under the direction or control of—
(i) the Government or any department of the Government;
(ii) any Legislature in India;
(iii) any court, tribunal or other judicial authority in India;
(l) "Indian work" means a literary, dramatic or musical work, the author of which is a citizen of India;
(m) "infringing copy" means,—
(i) in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, a reproduction thereof otherwise than in the form of a cinematograph film;
(ii) in relation to a cinematograph film, a copy of the film or a record embodying the recording in any part of the sound track associated with the film;
(iii) in relation to a record, any such record embodying the same recording; and
(iv) in relation to a programme in which a broadcast reproduction right subsists under section 37, a record recording the programme,

if such reproduction, copy or record is made or imported in contravention of the provisions of this Act;

(n) "lecture" includes address, speech and sermon;
(o) "literary work" includes tables and compilations;
(p) "musical work" means any combination of melody and harmony or either of them, printed, reduced to writing or otherwise graphically produced or reproduced;
(q) "performance" includes any mode of visual or acoustic presentation, including any such presentation by the exhibition of a cinematograph film, or by means of radio-diffusion, or by the use of a record, or by any other means and, in relation to a lecture, includes the delivery of such lecture;
(r) "performing rights society" means a society, association or other body, whether incorporated or not, which carries on business in India of issuing or granting licences for the performance in India of any works in which copyright subsists;

(s) "photograph" includes photo-lithograph and any work produced by any process analogous to photography but does not include any part of a cinematograph film;
(t) "plate" includes any stereotype or other plate, stone, block, mould, matrix, transfer, negative or other device used or intended to be used for printing or reproducing copies of any work, and any matrix or other appliance by which records for the acoustic presentation of the work are or are intended to be made;
(u) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(v) "radio-diffusion" includes communication to the public by any means of wireless diffusion whether in the form of sounds or visual images or both;
(w) "record" means any disc, tape, perforated roll or other device in which sounds are embodied so as to be capable of being reproduced therefrom, other than a sound track associated with a cinematograph film;
(x) "recording" means the aggregate of the sounds embodied in and capable of being reproduced by means of a record;
(y) "work" means any of the following works, namely:—
(i) a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work;
(ii) a cinematograph film;
(iii) a record;
(z) "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;
(za) "work of sculpture" includes casts and models.

3. For the purposes of this Act, "publication" means,—Meaning of publication. 

(a) in the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, the issue of copies of the work to the public in sufficient quantities;
(b) in the case of a cinematograph film, the sale or hire or offer for sale or hire of the film or copies thereof to the public;
(c) in the case of a record, the issue of records to the public in sufficient quantities;

but does not, except as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, include,—

(i) in the case of a literary, dramatic or musical work, the issue of any records recording such work;

(ii) in the case of a work of sculpture or an architectural work of art, the issue of photographs and engravings of such work.

4. Except in relation to infringement of copyright, a work shall When work not deemed to be published or performed in public.not be deemed to be published or performed in public, if published, or performed in public, without the licence of the owner of the copyright.

5. For the purposes of this Act, a work published in India shall When work deemed to be first published in India.be deemed to be first published in India, notwithstanding that it has been published simultaneously in some other country, unless such other country provides a shorter term of copyright for such work; and a work shall be deemed to be published simultaneously in India and in another country if the time between the publication in India and the publication in such other country does not exceed thirty days or such other period as the Central Government may, in relation to any specified country, determine.

6. If any question arises,—Certain disputes to be decided by Copyright Board.

(a) whether for the purposes of section 3, copies of any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or records are issued to the public in sufficient quantities; or
(b) whether for the purposes of section 5, the term of copyright for any work is shorter in any other country than that provided in respect of that work under this Act;

it shall be referred to the Copyright Board constituted under section 11 whose decision thereon shall be final.

7. Where, in the case of an unpublished work, the making of the Nationality of author where making of unpublished work is extended over considerable period.work is extended over a considerable period, the author of the work shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be a citizen of, or domiciled in, that country of which he was a citizen or wherein he was domiciled during any substantial part of that period.

8. For the purposes of this Act, a body corporate shall be deemed Domicile of corporations.to be domiciled in India if it is incorporated under any law in force in India.

  1. 21st January, 1958, vide notification No. 269 dated 21-1-58 Gazette of India, Extraordinary Part II Section 3 page 167.