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Copyright: Some guidelines | Centre for Digital Learning, Training & Resources

What is copyright?

Copyright is a person’s exclusive right to reproduce, publish, or sell his or her, any published and unpublished original work of authorship (as a literary, musical, dramatic, artistic, or architectural work) in whatever form of expression fixed in a tangible form.

What is the subject matter of copyright? Definition

Sr. No. Subject Matters Definition
1 Literary works Any work written or printed in any language e.g. novels, poetry or books on any subject Includes tables, compilations and computer programmes
2 Dramatic works Any piece of recitation, choreographic work or entertainment in dumb show, the scenic arrangement or acting form which is fixed in writing or otherwise
3 Musical works Any combination of melody and harmony or either of them printed, reduced to writing or otherwise graphically produced or reproduced.
4 Artistic works A painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan),an engraving or a photograph An architectural work of art. Any other work of artistic craftsman
5 Cinematograph films A cinematograph film also includes the sound track if any Includes any work produced by any process analogous to cinematography eg. Video film Record Any disc, tape or other device in which sounds are embodied so as to be capable of being reproduced there from other than a sound track association with a cinematograph film.
6 Sound recordings “sound recording” means a recording of sounds from which such sounds may be produced regardless of the medium on which such recording is made or the method by which the sounds are produced
7 Related rights

  1. Broadcasting right
  2. Performers’ right
“broadcast” means communication to the public-

  1. by any means of wireless diffusion, whether in any “broadcast” means communication to the public-
  2. by any means of wireless diffusion, whether in any one or more of the forms of signs, sounds or visual images; or
  3. by wire, and includes a re-broadcast

“performance”, in relation to performer’s right, means any visual or acoustic presentation made live by one or more performers; (qq) 24 “performer’ includes an actor, singer, musician, dancer, acrobat, juggler, conjurer, snake charmer, a person delivering a lecture or any other person who makes a performance

What are the guidelines for using the content for MOOCs or like online courses?

  • As far as possible, use original work.
  • You can use work of others, if copyright of that work is expired (Term of copyright)
  • Whenever you use the work created by third party, please provide reference.
  • Carefully read “Terms of service and copyright policy” or “Terms and Conditions” or any such document before using any content created by third party.
  • Carefully check Creative Commons license, YouTube license or any other license under which the work is released by the copyright owner.
  • Identify the owner of the work, and communicate with him/her to take permission for the usage of the work that they have created.

How to find the owner of the copyright?

  1. The author is the owner of the copyright work unless he/she has transferred his/her rights to others through any agreement or legal instrument. The list of the subject matter of copyright and the author is as follows:
    • Literary or dramatic work – Author of the work
    • Musical work – Composer of the music
    • Artistic work – Artist
    • Photograph – Person taking the photograph
    • Cinematographic film – Owner of the film at the time of its completion
    • Record – Owner of the original plate from which the record is made at the time of making of the plate.
  2. You can check the copyright notice on the work.The copyright notice may contain:
    • The copyright symbol -© or (p) for phonorecords, the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.”;
    • The year of first publication of the work (or of creation if the work is unpublished); and
    • The name of the copyright owner, an abbreviation by which the name can be recognised, or a generally known alternative designation.

How to check copyright status of the content available on any website?

  • First, find out the source of the content.
  • Second step is to find out about the “Terms of service and copyright policy” or “Terms and Conditions” or any such document. These documents are generally placed at the bottom of the screen.
  • Please read the document carefully to understand the terms and conditions for the usage of the content.
  • Decide the use of the content based on the “Terms and Conditions” or any such document.

How to check copyright status of an image available on Google?

  • Go to Google search page.
  • Type a “keyword” of the image you are searching and press “enter” key.
  • Click on the “image” option present among various other options such as All, Maps, News, Videos, and so on.
  • Click on the “Tools” option present on the same line.
  • Click on the “Usage rights”.
  • Select the required option from the drop down menu.
  • Choose the image of your interest.
  • Click on the image.
  • Confirm the license

Can I provide links of other websites?

Yes. You can provide links of other websites. Again, the advice is to carefully read the “Terms of service and copyright policy” or “Terms and Conditions” or any such document. If it mentions restricted usage, such as no derivative, no commercial use, then follow such instructions. Some websites provide links, which are not owned by them. In such case, carefully access the link and the “Terms of service and copyright policy” or “Terms and Conditions” or any such document available and related to that link to avoid any copyright infringement by you. It is advisable that while providing such links, take a caution to give disclaimer/notice. Ex: “Users” of these “Sites” can use the content for their own usage. It is suggested to follow Intellectual Property Right notices, if any, given by the respective owners of the content. It is also suggested to take care that the web link must open in a separate window. While directing the “user” to the web link owned by third party, it is a good practice to give notice. Ex: This is to inform you that by clicking the hyperlink, you are leaving our website and entering a website operated by the third party. It is suggested to follow Intellectual Property Right notices, if any, given on that website.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons (CC) is a global non-profit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools. CC provides six major licenses.

Can I use content released under “Creative Commons” license for MOOCs or similar online courses?

Please check the CC license carefully before use. Out of the six prevalent CC licenses, three CC licenses prohibit commercial use of the content. Ex: CC license

Term of copyright (Indian Copyright Act, 1957)

Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works:- (other than a photograph) published within the lifetime of the author until sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies. Photographs: – sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the photograph is published. Cinematograph films:-sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the film is published. Records: – sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the record is published. Government works: – sixty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is first published. Broadcast by radio-diffusion by the Government or any other broadcasting authority, a special right to be known as “broadcast reproduction right” shall subsist in such programme. Term: twenty-five years from the beginning of the calendar year next following year in which the programme is first broadcast. Performer’s right: – Term- fifty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following year in which the performance is made.

Section 52 (Indian Copyright Act, 1957)

Certain acts not to be infringement of copyright. – (1) The following acts shall not constitute an infringement of copyright, namely:

  1. a fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work [not being a computer programme] for the purposes of-
    1. private use, including research;
    2. criticism or review, whether of that work or of any other work; “
  2. the making of copies or adaptation of a computer programme by the lawful possessor of a copy of such computer programme, from such copy-
    1. in order to utilise the computer programme for the purposes for which it was supplied; or
    2. to make back-up copies purely as a temporary protection against loss, destruction or damage in order only to utilise the computer programme for the purpose for which it was supplied;”
  3. the doing of any act necessary to obtain information essential for operating inter-operability of an independently created computer programme with other programmes by a lawful possessor of a computer programme provided that such information is not otherwise readily available;
  4. the observation, study or test of functioning of the computer programme in order to determine the ideas and principles which underline any elements of the programme while performing such acts necessary for the functions for which the computer programme was supplied;
  5. the making of copies or adaptation of the computer programme from a personally legally obtained copy for non-commercial personal use;
  6. a fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purpose of reporting current events-
    1. in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, or
    2. by [broadcast] or in a cinematograph film or by means of photographs. [Explanation.- The publication of a compilation of addresses or speeches delivered in public is not a fair dealing of such work within the meaning of this clause;]
  7. the reproduction of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purpose of a judicial proceeding or for the purpose of a report of a judicial proceeding;
  8. the reproduction or publication of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work in any work prepared by the Secretariat of a Legislature or, where the Legislature consists of two Houses, by the Secretariat of either House of the Legislature, exclusively for the use of the members of that Legislature;
  9. the reproduction of any literary, dramatic or musical work in a certified copy made or supplied in accordance with any law for the time being in force;
  10. the reading or recitation in public of any reasonable extract from a published literary or dramatic work;
  11. the publication in a collection, mainly composed of non-copyright matter, bona fide intended for the use of educational institutions, and so described in the title and in any advertisement issued by or on behalf of the publisher, of short passages from published literary or dramatic works, not themselves published for the use of educational institutions, in which copyright subsists : Provided that not more than two such passages from works by the same author are published by the same publisher during any period of five years. Explanation- In the case of a work of joint authorship, references in this clause to passages from works shall include references to passages from works by any one or more of the authors of those passages or by any one or more of those authors in collaboration with any other person;
  12. the reproduction of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work-
    1. by a teacher or a pupil in the course of instruction; or
    2. as part of the questions to be answered in an examination; or
    3. in answers to such questions;
  13. the performance, in the course of the activities of an educational institution, of a literary, dramatic or musical work by the staff and students of the institution, or of a cinematograph film or a [sound recordings] if the audience is limited to such staff and students, the parents and guardians of the students and persons directly connected with the activities of the institution [or the communication to such an audience of a cinematograph film or sound recording].
  14. the making of sound recordings in respect of any literary, dramatic or musical work, if-
    1. sound recordings of that work have been made by or with the licence or consent of the owner of the right in the work;
    2. the person making the sound recordings has given a notice of his intention to make the sound recordings, has provided copies of all covers or labels with which the sound recordings are to be sold, and has paid in the prescribed manner to the owner of rights in the work royalties in respect of all such sound recordings to be made by him, at the rate fixed by the Copyright Board in this behalf: Provided that-
      1. no alterations shall be made which have not been made previously by or with the consent of the owner of rights, or which are not reasonably necessary for the adaptation of the work for the purpose of making the sound recordings;
      2. the sound recordings shall not be issued in any form of packaging or with any label which is likely to mislead or confuse the public as to their identity;
      3. no such sound recording shall be made until the expiration of two calendar years after the end of the year in which the first sound recording of the work was made; and
      4. the person making such sound recordings shall allow the owner of rights or his duly authorised agent or representative to inspect all records and books of account relating to such sound recording: Provided further that if on a complaint brought before the Copyright Board to the effect that the owner of rights has not been paid in full for any sound recordings purporting to be made in pursuance of this clause, the Copyright Board is, prima facie, satisfied that the complaint is genuine, it may pass an order ex parte directing the person making the sound recording to cease from making further copies and, after holding such inquiry as it considers necessary, make such further order as it may deem fit, including an order for payment of royalty;
  15. the causing of a recording to be heard in public by utilising it,-
    1. in an enclosed room or hall meant for the common use of residents in any residential premises (not being a hotel or similar commercial establishment) as part of the amenities provided exclusively or mainly for residents therein; or
    2. as part of the activities of a club or similar organisation which is not established or conducted for profit;
    3. as part of the activities of a club, society or other organisation which is not established or conducted for profit;
  16. the performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work by an amateur club or society, if the performance is given to a non-paying audience, or for the benefit of a religious institution;
  17. the reproduction in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical of an article on current economic, political, social or religious topics, unless the author of such article has expressly reserved to himself the right of such reproduction;
  18. the publication in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical of a report of a lecture delivered in public;
  19. the making of not more than three copies of a book (including a pamphlet, sheet of music, map, chart or plan) by or under the direction of the person in charge of a public library for the use of the library if such book is not available for sale in India;
  20. the reproduction, for the purpose of research or private study or with a view to publication, of an unpublished literary, dramatic or musical work kept in a library, museum or other institution to which the public has access : Provided that where the identity of the author of any such work or, in the case of a work of joint authorship, of any of the authors is known to the library, museum or other institution, as the case may be, the provisions of this clause shall apply only if such reproduction is made at a time more than sixty years from the date of the death of the author or, in the case of a work of joint authorship, from the death of the author whose identity is known or, if the identity of more authors than one is known from the death of such of those authors who dies last;
  21. the reproduction or publication of-
    1. any matter which has been published in any Official Gazette except an Act of a Legislature;
    2. any Act of a Legislature subject to the condition that such Act is reproduced or published together with any commentary thereon or any other original matter;
    3. the report of any committee, commission, council, board or other like body appointed by the Government if such report has been laid on the Table of the Legislature, unless the reproduction or publication of such report is prohibited by the Government;
    4. any judgement or order of a court, tribunal or other judicial authority, unless the reproduction or publication of such judgment or order is prohibited by the court, the tribunal or other judicial authority, as the case may be;
  22. the production or publication of a translation in any Indian language of an Act of a Legislature and of any rules or orders made thereunder-
    1. if no translation of such Act or rules or orders in that language has previously been produced or published by the Government; or
    2. where a translation of such Act or rules or orders in that language has been produced or published by the Government, if the translation is not available for sale to the public: Provided that such translation contains a statement at a prominent place to the effect that the translation has not been authorised or accepted as authentic by the Government;
  23. the making or publishing of a painting, drawing, engraving or photograph of a work of architecture or the display of a work of architecture;
  24. the making or publishing of a painting, drawing, engraving or photograph of a sculpture, or other artistic work failing under sub-clause (iii) of clause (c) of section 2, if such work is permanently situate in a public place or any premises to which the public has access;
  25. the inclusion in a cinematograph film of-
    1. any artistic work permanently situate in a public place or any premises to which the public has access; or
    2. any other artistic work, if such inclusion is only by way of background or is otherwise incidental to the principal matters represented in the film;
  26. the use by the author of an artistic work, where the author of such work is not the owner of the copyright therein, of any mould, cast, sketch, plan, model or study made by him for the purpose of the work : Provided that he does not thereby repeat or imitate the main design of the work;
  27. the reconstruction of a building or structure in accordance with the architectural drawings or plans by reference to which the building or structure was originally constructed : Provided that the original construction was made with the consent or licence of the owner of the copyright in such drawings and plans;
  28. in relation to a literary, dramatic or musical work recorded or reproduced in any cinematograph film the exhibition of such film after the expiration of the term of copyright therein : Provided that the provisions of sub-clause (ii) of clause (a), sub-clause (a) of clause (b) and clauses (d), (f), (g), (m) and (p) shall not apply as respects any act unless that act is accompanied by an acknowledgment-
    1. identifying the work by its title or other description; and
    2. unless the work is anonymous or the author of the work has previously agreed or required that no acknowledgement of his name should be made, also identifying the author.
  29. the making of an ephemeral recording, by a broadcasting organisation using its own facilities for its own broadcast by a broadcasting organisation of a work which it has the right to broadcast; and the retention of such recording for archival purposes on the ground of its exceptional documentary character;
  30. the performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work or the communication to the public of such work or of a sound recording in the course of any bona fide religious ceremony or an official ceremony held by the Central Government or the State Government or any local authority. Explanation- For the purpose of this clause, religious ceremony including a marriage procession and other social festivities associated with a marriage. (2) The provisions of sub-section (1) shall apply to the doing of any act in relation to the translation of a literary, dramatic or musical work or the adaptation of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work as they apply in relation to the work itself.

(Courtesy: IITBX)

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