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Section 13 -The Copyright Act, 1957

The Copyright Act, 1957



13. Works in which copyright subsists-


(1) Subject to the provisions of this section and the other provisions of this Act, copyright shall subsist throughout India in the following classes of works, that is to say,—


(a) original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works;


(b) cinematograph films; and


(c) 1[sound recording].


(2) Copyright shall not subsist in any work specified in sub-section (1), other than a work to which the provisions of section 40 or section 41 apply, unless,—


(i) in the case of a published work, the work is first published in India, or where the work is first published outside India, the author is at the date of such publication, or in a case where the author was dead at that date, was at the time of his death, a citizen of India;


(ii) in the case of an unpublished work other than 2[work of architecture], the author is at the date of the making of the work a citizen of India or domiciled in India; and


(iii) in the case of 2[work of architecture], the work is located in India.


Explanation.—In the case of a work of joint authorship, the conditions conferring copyright specified in this sub-section shall be satisfied by all the authors of the work.


(3) Copyright shall not subsist—


(a) in any cinematograph film if a substantial part of the film is an infringement of the copyright in any other work;


(b) in any 1[sound recording] made in respect of a literary, dramatic or musical work, if in making the 1[sound recording], copyright in such work has been infringed.


(4) The copyright in a cinematograph film or a 1[sound recording] shall not affect the separate copyright in any work in respect of which or a substantial part of which, the film, or, as the case may be, the 1[sound recording] is made.


(5) In the case of 2[work of architecture], copyright shall subsist only in the artistic character and design and shall not extend to processes or methods of construction.




Common property are not the subject of copyright

No doubt the central theme of the articles published by the second plaintiff and that of the drama and movie is the same, though the emphasis in the drama and the movie is more on human bondage, particularly of Indian women. The articles published by Ashwini Sarin also contain an autobiographical account of the part actually played by him in the affair. He has presented the whole affair in his own style. But that at the most would give the plaintiff copyright in respect of these articles. There cannot, however, be a copyright in an event which has actually taken place. There is a distinction between the materials upon which one claiming copyright has worked and the product of the application of his skill, judgment, labour and literary talent to these materials. Ideas, information, natural phenomena and events on which an author expends his skill, labour capital, judgment and literary talent are common property and are not the subject of copyright; Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Pvt. Ltd. v. Dr. Jagmohan Mundhara, AIR 1985 Bom 229.


Copyright in translation of a work


There is copyright in translation of a work; Blackwood & Sons Ltd. v. Parsuraman, AIR 1959 Mad 410.


Meaning ‘literary work’


The words ‘literary work’ cover work which is expressed in print or writing, irrespective of the question whether the quality or style is high. The word ‘literary’ seems to be used in a sense somewhat similar to the use of the word ‘literature’ in political or electioneering literature and refers to written or printed matter; University of London Press Ltd. v. University Tutorial Press Ltd., (1916) 2 ChD 601.


Original work


The syllabi issued in a circular by the Board of Secondary Education of the State, containing guidelines of authors and publishers of textbooks cannot be taken as original work being the product of labour, skill and capital of some men engaged by the Board; Nag Book House v. State of West Bengal, AIR 1982 Cal 245.


Work of cine artist and performance as an actor


The work of a cine artist, his performance as an actor in a cinematograph film does not fall within the definition of ‘‘cinematograph film’’ to be found in section 2(f), and hence, is not protected under this Act. It is the cinematograph film that enjoys protection along with its sound track; Fortune Films v. Dev Anand, AIR 1979 Bom 17.



1. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, sec. 2, for “record” (w.e.f. 10-5-1995).


2. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, sec. 2 , for “architectural work of art” (w.e.f. 10-5-1995).



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