By Nikhil Jain, ITMU Law School.
Editor’s Note: With technological advancements, the need to protect one’s work through copyrights has tremendously increased. To safeguard such interests, the Indian Legislature passed the Indian Copyright Act, 1957; the Act has seen various amendments through the years to keep pace with the changing times.
This paper discusses the establishment of the Copyright Board in India, its functions and the intricate internal working. For a thorough understanding, the Powers and Functions, along with the Procedure of the Copyright Board, as stated in the Copyright Act, 1957 has been discussed at length.
Copyright: an Introduction
Copyright is a kind of intellectual property, the importance of which has increased enormously in recent times due to the rapid technological development.
Copyright means the exclusive rights to do or authorize others to do certain acts in relation to:
(1) Original, literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works,
(2) Cinematograph film, and
(3) Sound recordings
Basically, a copyright is the right to copy or reproduce the work in which the copyright subsists. The exclusive right for doing the respective acts extends not only to the whole of the work but to any substantial part thereof or to any translation or adaptation thereof, where applicable. The term period of a copyright is the life of the author of the work plus sixty years with certain exceptions.
The object of copyright law is to encourage authors, composers, artists and designers to create original work by rewarding them with an exclusive right for a limited period to exploit the work for monetary gain. The economic exploitation is done by licensing such exclusive right to entrepreneurs like publishers, film producers and record manufacturers for a monetary consideration.
Copyright is a creation of the statute. The law of copyright in India is contained in the Copyright Act, 1957 as amended subsequently from time to time. This Act has been amended five times since then, i.e., in 1983, 1984, 1992, 1994, 1999 and 2012. The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 is the most substantial. The Indian copyright legislation provides for three important authorities and institutions for registration of copyright, effective protection of copyright and also for better enforcement of the copyright of owners and others. They are:
(1) Copyright office
(2) Copyright Board
(3) Copyright Societies
The Copyright Board, a quasi-judicial body, was constituted in September 1958. The jurisdiction of the Copyright Board extends to the whole of India. The copyright board is a body constituted by the central govt. to discharge certain judicial function under the Act.  The Board is entrusted with the task of adjudication of disputes pertaining to copyright registration, assignment of copyright, grant of Licenses in respect of works withheld from public, unpublished Indian works, production and publication of translations and works for certain specified purposes. It also hears cases in other miscellaneous matters instituted before it under the Copyright Act, 1957
It consists of a chairman and not more than fourteen other members.  The Chairman and the members shall hold their office for five years. They may be reappointed on the expiry of the tenure.  The chairman of the copyright board must be a person who is or has been judge of a High Court or is qualified for appointment as a judge of a High Court.  There is no qualification mentioned about the members of the Board.
The Registrar of Copyright also plays a very important role. The Registrar of the copyright board will perform all secretarial functions of the copyright board.  The Registrar of the Copyright is the authority under Section 9 of the Act who is the officer of the Copyright Office. The Registrar of Copyright has powers of the civil court.  And every order made by the registrar of payment of money is deemed as a decree of a civil court and is executed as decree of such court. 
Powers of Copyright Board
The copyright board has been constituted to perform judicial functions.
Therefore, the copyright board has been accredited with the powers of civil court for the purpose of Sec. 345 & 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. All proceedings of the court are judicial proceedings within the meaning of Sec. 193 & 228 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.  In exercise of the civil court power, the copyright board may issue summons and enforce the attendance of any person and may examine him on oath, requiring the discovery and production of the document, receiving evidence on affidavit issuing commission for the examination of witness and documents and requisitioning public record or copy thereof from any court.
The Registrar of Copyright and the Copyright Board have the powers of a civil court in respect of the following matters: 
(a) Summoning & enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath (this jurisdiction extends to the whole of India); 
(b) Requiring the discovery and production of any document;
(c) Receiving evidence on affidavit;
(d) Issuing commission for the examination of witnesses and document;
(e) Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
(f) Any other matter which may be prescribed.
Functions of Copyright Board
The first and foremost function of the copyright board is to look after whether the provisions of the Act are followed without any violation or infringement and to adjudicate certain cases pertaining to copyrights.
Other than this, the copyright board has been provided direct jurisdiction in relation to matters:
(1) To decide the issue of publication and its date in order to determine the term of copyright 
(2) To decide the term of copyright which shorter in any other country than that provided in respect of that work under the Act  (The decision of the Copyright board on the above question will be final)
(3) To settle disputes related to assignment of copyright 
(4) To grant compulsory licenses for Indian work 
(5) To grant compulsory licenses to publish the unpublished work 
(6) To grant compulsory licenses to produce and publish translation of literary and dramatic works 
(7) To grant compulsory licenses to reproduce and publish certain categories of literary, scientific or artistic works for certain purposes 
(8) To rectify the Register of copyrights on the application of registrar of copyrights or any aggrieved persons 
Other than this, another important function of Copyright Board is carried out by the Registrar of Copyright Board. The Registrar maintains a Register of Copyrights containing the names or titles of works and the names and addresses of authors, publishers and owners of copyright and other particulars as may be prescribed.  The Register of Copyright will be kept in six parts as follows: 
Part I – Literary works other than computer programs, tables and compilations including computer databases and dramatic works.
Part II – Musical works
Part III – Artistic works
Part IV – Cinematograph films
Part V – Sound recordings
Part VI – Computer programs, tables and compilations including computer databases.
Note: As per Sec. 50A of the Act every entry made in the Register of Copyright should be published in the official gazette or in such manner as the registrar may deem fit.
Registration of Copyright: registration of copyright is not compulsory under sec. 44 of the Act. The registration is neither required for acquiring copyright nor for enforcement.  Registration is merely a piece of evidence as to when certain author started claiming copyright in the artistic or other work. 
Procedure of Copyright Board
The copyright board has power to regulate its own procedure,  including the fixation of places and times of its sittings. This is subject to the Copyright Rules, 1958. Ordinarily it will hear any proceeding instituted before it within the zone in which the person instituting the proceedings actually and voluntarily resides and carries on business or personally works for gain. For this purpose the territory of India has been divided into five zones – The northern, southern, eastern, western and central zone. Here zone means a zone specified in Sec. 15 of the States Reorganization Act, 1956. 
(1) The Northern Zone comprises the States of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir, and the Union Territories of Delhi and Chandigarh.
(2) The Central Zone comprises the States of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
(3) The Eastern Zone comprises of the States of Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Manipur and Tripura.
(4) The Western Zone comprises of the States of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Goa, Daman & Diu.
(5) The Southern Zone comprises of the States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, and the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
Now, the Copyright Board functions in five zones. The Board discharges its functions through the Benches constituted by the Chairman, and the Chairman constitutes benches from amongst its members, each bench consisting of not less than three members.  If the matter of dispute is of utmost importance, the Chairman of the Board may constitute a bench consisting of five members.  If there is any difference of opinion among the members of the Bench, the opinion of majority shall prevail.  If there is no such majority, the opinion of Chairman will prevail. 
Further, the Chairman may authorize any of its members to exercise any of the powers conferred on it by provision of Sec. 74 of the Act and any order or act done in the exercise of these powers by the member so authorized will be deemed to the order or act, as the case may be of the Board. 
Also, no member of Copyright Board should take part in any proceedings before the Board in respect of a matter in which he has a personal interest. 
Appeal (Sec. 71-73 of the Act): An order of the registrar may be appealed within 3 months to the Copyright Board and any decision or order of the Board may be appealed to the High Court within 3 months.
No appeal lies against the order of the Copyright Board for the determination of issue related to the term of the copyright in other countries. 
The jurisdiction of High Court in appeal is determined by the place where the appellant actually or voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain. Further, the word resides, refers only to natural person and not to legal persons like companies or government. This is why the firm or companies whether they carry on business at a particular place is a question of fact. 
Civil courts have no jurisdiction to rectify the copyright register. And the Copyright Board has no powers to limit the user of copyright to any particular territorial area. 
Further, In Mukherjee vs. State  it was held that while exercising its jurisdiction under section 19A relating to settlement of disputes arising out of assignment of copyright, the Copyright Board has no power to decide whether there was any infringement of copyright.
Hence, registrar functions as single arbitrator. And the appeals against his orders are made to the board. Thus, the mechanism under the Act is – administrative, quasi-judicial and judicial.
Reform of Copyright Board
The Copyright Board during the last decade has changed significantly. Considering the diverse nature of issues being dealt with by the Copyright Board, section 11 relating to the constitution of the Copyright Board has been amended to make it a body consisting of a Chairman and two members which may extend up to 14 members.
A provision has also been introduced for payment of salaries and allowances to the members of the Board.
Latest reform that has come is setup of a permanent copyright board. ―A permanent copyright Board is being set up to provide better services to authors, performers and creators of various works, HRD minister MM Pallam Raju said on Monday, Feb. 18, 2014.
This office will establish a unique identity and will create a distinct relationship with public. And the interactive copyright web portal having facility of e-filing of applications with payment gateway is also going to be the major step in delivering public services in a more efficient and effective manner. E-filing facility for registration of ISBN numbers is going to be operational in the current year and will assist authors and publishers in getting prompt services.
This will eliminate wasteful expenditure and save time and energy on long travels to come to copyright office here to search the copyright register.
Copyright Enforcement Agency Council has also been constituted in year 2013 to enforce provisions under the Act and stop piracy after the major amendments bought to the Copyright Act in 2012.
Overall the amendments introduced are forward looking. This will enable the Copyright Act 1957 to become as one of the best copyright legislations in the world.
State Reorganization Act, 1956
Establishment of Zonal Councils. As from the appointed day, there shall be a
Zonal Council for each of the following five zones, namely:–
(a) the Northern Zone, comprising the States of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir and the Union territories of Delhi, and Chandigarh;
(b) the Central Zone, comprising the States of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh;
(c) the Eastern Zone, comprising the States of Bihar, West Bengal Orissa and Sikkim;
(d) the Western Zone, comprising the States of Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra and the Union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu; and
(e) the Southern Zone, comprising the States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala and the Union territory of Pondicherry.
The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Procedure in certain cases of contempt.
(1) When any such offence as is described in section 175, section 178, section 179, section 180 or section 228 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ), is committed in the view or presence of any Civil, Criminal or Revenue Court, the Court may cause the offender to be detained in custody and may, at any time before the rising of the Court on the same day, take cognizance of the offence and, after giving the offender a reasonable opportunity of showing cause why he should not be punished under this section, sentence the offender to fine not exceeding two hundred rupees, and, in default of payment of fine, to simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, unless such fine be sooner paid.
(2) In every such case the Court shall record the facts constituting the offence, with the statement (if any) made by the offender, as well as the finding and sentence.
(3) If the offence is under section 228 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ), the record shall show the nature and stage of the judicial proceeding in which the Court interrupted or insulted was sitting, and the nature of the interruption or insult.
Procedure where Court considers, that case should not be dealt with under section 345.
(1) If the Court in any case considers that a person accused of any of the offences referred to in section 345 and committed in its view or presence should be imprisoned otherwise than in default of payment of fine, or that a fine exceeding two hundred rupees should be imposed upon him, or such Court is for any other reason of opinion that the case should not be disposed of under section 345, such Court, after recording the facts constituting the offence and the statement of the accused as hereinbefore provided, may forward the case to a Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the same, and may require security to be given for the appearance of such person before such Magistrate, or if sufficient security is not given shall forward such person in custody to such Magistrate.
(2) The Magistrate to whom any case is forwarded under this section shall proceed to deal with, as far as may be, as if it were instituted on a police report.
Indian Penal Code, 1860
Punishment for false evidence.
Whoever intentionally gives false evidence in any stage of a judicial proceeding, or fabri-cates false evidence for the purpose of being used in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine, and whoever intentionally gives or fabricates false evidence in any other case, shall be punished with imprisonment of either de-scription for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation 1.— A trial before a Court martial; 1[***] is a judicial proceeding.
Explanation 2.—An investigation directed by law preliminary to a proceeding before a Court of Justice, is a stage of a judicial proceeding, though that investigation may not take place before a Court of Justice.
Illustration A, in an enquiry before a Magistrate for the purpose of ascer-taining whether Z ought to be committed for trial, makes on oath a statement which he knows to be false. As this enquiry is a stage of a judicial proceeding, A has given false evidence.
Explanation 3.—An investigation directed by a Court of Justice according to law, and conducted under the authority of a Court of Justice, is a stage of a judicial proceeding, though that inves-tigation may not take place before a Court of Justice. Illustration A, in any enquiry before an officer deputed by a Court of Justice to ascertain on the spot the boundaries of land, makes on oath a statement which he knows to be false. As this enquiry is a stage of a judicial proceeding. A has given false evidence.
Intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in judicial proceeding.
Whoever intentionally offers any insult, or causes any interruption to any public servant, while such public servant is sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thou-sand rupees, or with both. State Amendment Andhra Pradesh.—In
Andhra Pradesh offence under section 228 is cognizable [Vide A.P.G.O. Ms. No. 732, dated 5th December, 1991].
Form IV – Application for Registration of Copyright
The Registrar of Copyrights
New Delhi – 110 001
In accordance with Section 45 of the Copyright Act, 1957 (14 of 1957), I hereby apply for registration of Copyright and request you that entries may be made in the Register of Copyrights in the enclosed Statement of Particulars sent herewith in triplicate.
I also send herewith completed the Statement of Further Particulars relating to the work.
(For Literary, Dramatic, Musical and Artistic works only)
- In accordance with Rule 16 of the Copyright Rules, 1958, I have sent by prepaid registered post copies of this letter and of the enclosed Statement(s) to other parties concerned, as shown below:
Name and addresses of the parties Date of dispatch
See columns 7, 11, 12 and 13 of the Statement of Particulars and the party referred in Col. 2 (e) of the Statement of Further Particulars.)
- The prescribed fee has been paid, as per details below:-
- Communications on this subject may be addressed to: –
- I hereby declare that to the best of my knowledge and belief, no person, other than to whom a notice has been sent to as per paragraph 2 above has any claim or interest or dispute to my copyright of this work or to its use by me.
- I hereby verify that the particulars given in this Form and in the Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars are true to the best of my knowledge, belief and information and nothing has been concealed therefrom.
Signature by the applicant
List of enclosures:
Statement of Particulars
(To be sent in triplicate)
1. Registration No. (to be filled in by the Copyright Office)
2. Name, address & nationality of the Applicant
3. Nature of the Applicant‘s interest in the Copyright of the work
4. Class and description of the work
5. Title of the work
6. Language of the work
7. Name, address & Nationality of the Author and if the author is deceased, the date of decease
8. Whether the work is published or unpublished
9.Year and Country of first publication (Name, address and nationality of the publisher)
10. Years and countries of subsequent publications if any, and name, addresses and nationalities of the publishers
11. Names, address and nationalities of the owners of various rights comprising the copyright in the workand the extent of rights held by each, together with the particulars of assignments and licence, if any
12. Names, addresses and nationalities of other persons if any, authorised to assign or licence the rights comprising the copyrights
13. If the work is Artistic‘ the location of the original work, including name and address and nationality of the person in possession of the work, (in case of an architectural work, the year of completion of the work should also be shown).
13A. If the work is an Artistic work which is used or is capable of being used in relation to any goods, the application should include a certification from the Registrar of Trade Marks in terms of the proviso to Sub-Section (i) of Section 45 of the Copyright Act, 1957.
14.Remarks, if any Signature of the Applicant
Statement of Further Particulars
(To be sent in triplicate)
(For Literary, Dramatic, Musical and Artistic works only)
1. Is the work to be registered?
- an original work?
- a translation of a work in the public domain?
- A translation of a work in which Copyright subsists?
- an adaptation of a work in the public domain?
- an adaptation of a work in which Copyright subsists?
2. If the work is a translation or adaptation of a work in which Copyright subsists:
- Title of the original work
- Language of the original work
- Name, address and nationality of the author of the original work and if the author is deceased, the date of decease
- Name, address and nationality of the publisher, if any, of the original work
- Particulars of the authorization for a translation or adaptation including the name, address and nationality of the party authorizing:
3. Remarks, if any
INSTRUCTIONS FOR FILLING UP THE STATEMENT OF PARTICULARS ANNEXED TO FORM IV FOR THE REGISTRATION OF COPYRIGHTS
Col.3:- State whether the applicant is the author or publisher of the work or whether he/she is the owner assignee or licencee of any right comprising the copyright in the work or whether he has any other interest in the work.
Col.4:- State whether the work is “Literary work” or “Dramatic Work” or “Musical work” or “Computer Software work” or “Artistic Work” or “Cinematograph Film” or “Sound Recording”, [see sub- section (i) of Section 13]. Describe in brief the nature of the work (i.e. Drama, Novel,
Biography, Poems, Lecturers Opera, Painting, Engraving, Photograph, Disco tapes, etc.)
Col. 5 In regard to a work, a title must be given.
Col. 6 If the work is in more than one language, all the languages should be shown.
Col. 7 For the definition of Author see clause ‗d‘ of Section 2. Moreover, irrespective of the personwho gave the ideas or suggestions, the author is the person who has actually drawn or executed the work in question.
Col. 8 For definition of Publication see Section 3 of the Act, and if the work is posthumous work, see sub-section (2) of Section 24.
Col. 9 If a work is published simultaneously in more than one country, state particulars of countries in which it is published and the exact date of publication (and not merely the year of publication) in each country. For meaning of simultaneous publication see section 5.
Col. 10 In case of subsequent publication, state briefly the changes, if any, made in the first publication.
Col.11 For the rights comprising the Copyright, see Section 14. If the rights are owned separately by different persons the rights of each person should be stated separately, including the extent of rights held by each person. In the case of a Cinematograph Film‘ or Sound Recording‘ also state in full particulars (viz. full names, addresses and nationalities) of the owners of Copyright of the work recorded in the Sound Recording like the composers, lyricists, story writers, etc.
Col. 2 State the Particulars of the persons other than those mentioned in Col. 11, authorized to assign or licence the rights comprising the copyrights, if any.
Col.13 State where and with whom the original work is located. This information is required to be supplied in case of artistic work as defined in Section 2 (c).
Col.13A In case an artistic work is used or is capable of being used in relation to any goods, a Search Certificate from the Trade Marks Registry u/s 45 (1) of the Copyright Act, 1957 as amended from time to time, has to be procured, and enclosed in original with the application for registration of Copyright.
THE APPLICANTS/THEIR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES MAY VISIT COPYRIGHT OFFICE BETWEEN 2.30 PM AND 4.00 PM ON ANY WORKING DAY SECOND SCHEDULE TO THE COPYRIGHT RULES, 1958 (AS AMENDED FROM TIME TO TIME) ENLISTING VARIOUS FEE PAYABLE UNDER THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957
For a licence to republish a Literary, Dramatic, Musical or Artistic work (Section 31, 31-A and 32-A) Rs. 400/- per work
For licence to republish a Cinematograph Film (Section 31) Rs. 600/- per work
For a licence to republish a sound recording (Section 31) Rs. 400/- per work
For a licence to perform an Indian work in public or to communicate the work to the public by
Broadcast (Section 31) Rs. 200/- per work
For an application for a licence to produce and publish a translation of a Literary or Dramatic work in any Language ) (Section 32 & 32-A Rs. 200/- per work
For an application for registration or copyright in a:
Literary, Dramatic, Musical or Artistic work Rs. 50/- per work
Provided that in respect of a Literary or Artistic work which is used or is capable of being used in relation to any goods (Section 45) Rs. 400/- per work
For an application for change in particulars of copyright entered in the Register of Copyrights in respect of a:-
Literary, Dramatic, Musical or Artistic work Rs. 50/- per work
Provided that in respect of a literary or Artistic work which is used or is capable of being used in relation to any goods (Section 45) Rs. 200/- per work
For an application for registration of Copyright in a Cinematograph Film (Section 45) Rs. 600/- per work
For an application for registration of change in particulars of copyright entered in the Register of
Copyrights in respect of Cinematograph film (Section 45) Rs. 400/- per work
For an application for registration of copyright in a Sound Recording (Section 45) Rs. 400/- per work
For an application for registration of changes in particulars of copyright entered in the Register of Copyrights in respect of Sound Recording (Section 45) Rs. 200/- per work
For taking extracts from the indexes (Section 47) Rs. 20/- per work
For taking extracts from the Register of Copyrights (Section 47) Rs. 20/- per work
For a certified copy of an extract from the Register of Copyrights of the indexes (Section 47) Rs. 20/- per work
For a certified copy of any other public document in the custody of the Register of Copyright or the Copyright Board Rs. 20/- per work
For an application for prevention of importation of infringing copies (Section 53) per place of entry Rs. 400/- per work
Composition of Copyright Board
(Former Law Secretary to the Government of India)
Joint Secretary-in-charge of Copyrights Ministry of Human Resource Development Department of Secondary Education and Higher Education, Government of India
Joint Secretary and Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs) dealing with Department of Secondary Education and Higher Education, Government of India
Law Secretary, Government of Kerala
Law Secretary, Government of Karnataka
Law Secretary, Government of Rajasthan
Law Secretary, Government of West Bengal
Law Secretary, Government of Meghalaya
Law Secretary, Government of Maharashtra
Law Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh
Law Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh
Formatted on 14th March 2019.
 Sec. 11(1) of The Copyright Act, 1957
 Sec. 11(1) of The Copyright Act, 1957
 Sec. 11(1) of The Copyright Act, 1957
 Sec. 11(3) of The Copyright Act, 1957
 Sec. 11(4) read with Sec. 4(4) of The Copyright Act, 1957
 Sec. 74 of The Copyright Act, 1957
 Sec. 75 of The Copyright Act, 1957
 Sec. 12(7) of The Copyright Act, 1957
 As per Sec. 74 of The Copyright Act, 1957
Explanation to Sec. 74 of the Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 6(a) of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 6(b) of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 19(A) of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec 31 of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 31A of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec 32 of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 32A of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 50 of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 44 of The Copyright Act, 1957
Rule 15 of The Copyright Rules. 2013
Kumari Kanak vs. Sundara Rajan; (1972) Ker LR 536
Glaxo vs. Samrat Pharmaceuticals; AIR 1984
Sec. 12(1) of The Copyright Act, 1957
Explanation to Sec. 12(1) of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 12(2) of The Copyright Act, 1957
Proviso to Sec. 12(2) of the Act
Sec 12(3) of The Copyright Act, 1957
Proviso to Sec 12(3) of the Act
Sec. 12(4) of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 12(5) of The Copyright Act, 1957
Sec. 72 of The Copyright Act, 1957
Mohammad Kasim vs. Hanuman Industries; AIR 1956 J.C 200
Vandana vs. Vandana saree Emporium; (1983) PTC 119
(1994) PTC 202