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Formal and Substantive Requirements of Copyright

Formal and Substantive Requirements
Formal and Substantive Requirements


Formal Requirements

Formal requirements are explicitly specified for two categories of works: sound recordings and cinematographic or video films. For all other categories of works, there are no express formal requirements to be met.

Sound Recordings

In the case of sound recordings, the following particulars must be mentioned on the recording and any other container thereof:

  • The name and address of the person who made the recording.

  • The name and address of the owner of copyright.

  • The year when the work was published.


Cinematographic or Video Films

For cinematographic or video films, the following details must be displayed before the broadcast of any video film:

  • The name and address of the owner of the copyright in the film itself while it is being exhibited, as well as carrying these particulars on the video cassette or other container of the film.

  • If the person who made the film is not the owner of the copyright, it is additionally necessary for them to display, both in the product itself and on its cassette or container, that they have obtained the copyright owner's licence or consent for the making of the video film.

  • If the film requires a certificate for its exhibition under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, then a copy of the certificate granted by the Board of Film Certification must be displayed in the film during its exhibition as well as on its container.

Addressing Piracy

Piracy has been a significant concern, both offline and online. Efforts to counter piracy include:

  • Proposed amendments to legislation, such as the Draft Cinematograph Bill 2010 and recommendations by committees.

  • The use of dynamic injunctions by courts, allowing plaintiffs to extend injunctions against websites containing pirated content.

Current Scenario and Future Endeavours

In 2021, the government invited comments on proposed amendments to existing legislation to address piracy among other issues. Despite efforts, piracy remains a substantial challenge, with both offline DVD sales and online piracy causing losses to content producers and creators.

Substantive Requirements

Copyright protection extends to the end result of the labour, skill, and capital expended by the creator on their work, rather than the basic elements, thoughts, or ideas used therein. To secure copyright, it's imperative that sufficient labour, skill, and capital are invested to imbue the product with a quality or character distinguishing it from the basic material.

Essence of Copyright Protection

The essence of copyright lies in the transformation of basic elements into a distinct creation through the application of knowledge, labour, judgement, and literary craftsmanship. This transformation adds value and originality to the work, warranting its protection under copyright law.


Requirement for Originality

Originality in copyright refers to the unique expression of ideas, rather than the ideas themselves. The work must exhibit a level of creativity and novelty derived from the creator's personal skill and effort, setting it apart from mere replication or imitation.

Differentiation from Basic Material

Copyright protection hinges on the ability of the creator to enhance the basic material through their creative input. The resulting product should possess qualities or characteristics that elevate it beyond the raw material, reflecting the creator's vision, style, and expertise.

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