All About The Copyright Act, 1957


Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection granted under Indian Law to the creators of original works of authorship such as literary works, computer programs, dramatic, musical and artistic works, cinematographic films and sound recordings. It is a bundle of rights including inter alia, rights of reproduction, adaption and translation of the work and communication to the public. As creativity is the basic principle of progress, no society can afford to ignore, rather promoting creativity. Copyright laws ensure minimum safeguards of the rights of the author over their creation, in this manner protecting and rewarding their creativity.

The Copyright Act of 1957[1] was the first post-independence copyright legislation in India. It has been amended six times (1983, 1984, 1992, 1994, 1999 and 2000) since 1957. The objective of this Act is to ensure the rights of original expression to the ones who put on their talent and who risk their capital to showcase their work before the public and to encourage their talent.

Section 13 of the Copyright Act 1957[2] talks about the subject-matters that are protected by the copyright law.

  1. Original literary work
  2. Original dramatic work
  3. Original musical work
  4. Original artistic work
  5. Cinematography films
  6. Sound recordings

Copyright protection is of two forms – 1. Economic Rights 2. Moral Rights

1. Economic Rights-

These are also known as exclusive rights given under Section 14 of the Copyright Act 1957[3]. It allows the owners to derive financial rewards from the use of their work by others. There are different types of rights for different types of work which are as follows –

  1. Right to adaption
  2. Right to reproduce
  3. Right to make translations
  4. Right to issue copies
  5. Right to perform in the public
  6. Right to make cinematography and sound recording
  7. Right to sell, rent, offer for sale of the copyrighted work
  8. Right to communicate
  9. Right to do any other activities related to translation and adaption

2. Moral Rights–

Section 57 of the Copyright Act 1957[4] talks about moral rights. Moral rights allow authors and creators to take certain actions to preserve and protect their link with the work. There are two types of moral rights –

  1. Right to paternity – It refers to the right of an author to claim authorship of work and right to prevent others from claiming authorship of his work.
  2. Right to integrity – It empowers the author to prevent distortion, mutilation and other alteration in his work which would be prejudicial to his reputation. It incorporates the right to claim damages for any act mentioned is done.


Civil Remedies – Section 55 of the Copyright Act of 1957[5] covers the civil remedies for copyright infringement.

1. Interlocutory Injunctions –

It is a judicial process by which a person who is threatening to invade or has invaded the rights of another is restrained from continuing that act. The three requirements are –

  1. Prima Facie case
  2. Balance of convenience
  3. Irreparable injury

2. Pecuniary Remedies –

Three types of pecuniary remedies are –

  1. An account of profit which lets the owner seeks the sum of money, equal to the profit made through unlawful conduct.
  2. Conversational damages which are assessed according to the value of the article.
  3. Compensatory damages that led the copyright owner seek the damages he suffered.

3. Anton Piller Orders –

The order is named after the case Anton Piller KG vs. Manufacturing Process Ltd, 1976[6]. It contains following elements –

  1. An order restraining the defendant from destroying goods.
  2. The order that the defendant is directed to disclose the name of suppliers and consumers.
  3. Permission to the plaintiff’s lawyer to search the premise of the defendant and take goods into custody.

4. Mareva Injunction –

This comes into force when the court finds that the defendant is trying to delay the execution of any order passed against him. It restrains the defendant from disposing of assets that are requiring satisfying the claim of the plaintiff.

Criminal remedies – Section 63 of the Copyright Act 1957[7] covers the criminal liabilities of copyright infringement.

  1. Imprisonment not less than 6 months and which may extend to 3 years
  2. Fine which may not be less than 50,000 and which may extend to 2,00,000
  3. Delivery of copyrighted goods to the copyright owner
  4. Search and seizure of infringing goods


  1. For private and personal use including research
  2. Criticism or review
  3. Broadcasting of cinematographic films or posting photos
  4. Reproduction and reporting of any judicial proceeding
  5. Reporting of current events
  6. Reporting of lectures in public
  7. Publication of any kind of work prepared by the secretariat of a legislature
  8. Reproduction of any work in a certified copy made in accordance with any law
  9. Reading or recitation of any literary or dramatic work
  10. Publication of any non-copyright matter for educational purpose
  11. Recording any sound by the owner of the right in work


The copyright laws of India are strong enough to protect the owners of the material. Such protections are very much necessary for the increasing challenges due to the latest technology and circumstances. These protections are an encouragement to the coming generations to showcase their talent and skill. It is in the hands of the judiciary to enforce these laws stringently.









This Article is Authored by Gayathri Rajagopal, 2nd Year BA LLB Student at FIMT college GGSIP University.

Also Read – An Overview of The Copyright Act, 1957

Law Corner

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