Copyright law in India


The Copyright Act of 1957 (the Act) (, supported by the Copyright Rules of 1958, is India’s governing law for copyright protection.

Because India has a common law legal system, it relies on case law to interpret and establish precedents in law, and judicial decisions contribute to the sources of copyright law in India. India is a signatory to the Berne Conventions as well as the Universal Copyright Convention.

The Indian government also passed the International Copyright Order, 1999. This Order provides that any work first published in any country that is a member of any of the above conventions receives the same treatment as if it were first published in India.

What can be copyrighted ?

The Copyright Act of 1957 and the Copyright Rules of 2013 govern the copyright registration process in India. Any original artistic work, cinematographic film, music composition, literary/dramatic work, sound recording, or software that is a tangible expression of thought can be copyrighted.

The following are some basic recommendations:

  • An application for registration has to be made on Form IV (Including Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars) as prescribed in the First Schedule to the Rules
  • Each application must be accompanied by the requisite fee as prescribed in the second schedule either in the form of a Demand Draft or an Indian Postal Order favouring the “Registrar Of Copyright Payable At New Delhi” or through E-payment
  • The application must contain the necessary signatures and Power(s) of the Attorney
  • Three copies of the work must be submitted with the application. If the work is unpublished, a copy of the manuscript should be sent with the application
  • Following that, a Diary Number is assigned to track the status of the application, which is subject to a 30-day mandatory waiting period for inviting any objections
  • If there are no objections, the application will be forwarded to an examiner. If the examiner does not find any errors in the application, the registration process will be completed.