Copyright and its Ownership

KNC501/KNC601 Constitution of India, Law and Engineering

Chapter 14: Intellectual Property Laws

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Unit 5


Copyright and its Ownership

Copyright refers to the legal right of the owner of intellectual property.

In simpler terms, 

Copyright is the right to copy. This means that the original creators of products and anyone they give authorization to are the only ones with the exclusive right to reproduce the work.

Examples-books, poems, plays, songs, films, and artwork.

The penalties for copyright infringement are: For individuals – financial penalty up to $117,000 and a possible term of imprisonment of up to five years.

The following types of works are allowed protection under the copyright law:

  • Literary Works.
  • Musical Works.
  • Dramatic Works.
  • Choreographic Works.
  • Pictorial, Graphic, and Sculptural Works.
  • Motion Pictures and Other Audiovisual Works.
  • Sound Recordings.

Ownership of Copyright:

The law grants to owners a set of specified rights: reproduction of works, distribution of copies making of derivative works, and the public performance and display of works.

Some artworks have “moral rights” regarding the name of the artist on the work, or preventing destruction of some works. Owners may also have rights to prevent anyone from circumventing technological protection systems that control access to the works.

Author is the copyright owner:

As a general rule, the initial owner of the copyright is the person who does the creative work. If you wrote the book or took the photograph, you are the copyright owner.

Employer may be the copyright owner:

If you created the work as an employee, acting within the scope of your employment, the work may be a “work made for hire.” In that event, the copyright owner is the employer.
If you are an employee, and your job is to create software code, the copyright probably belongs to your employer.

Copyrights can be transferred:

The law may make you or your employer the copyright owner, but the law also allows the owner to transfer the copyright. With a written and signed instrument, your employer can give you the copyright. 

In the academic setting, we are frequently asked to transfer copyrights in our books and articles to publishers. The ability to transfer or retain our copyrights is an opportunity to be good stewards of our intellectual works.

Author – Dilip Kumar Rawat

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