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Updated: Oct 24, 2019

The Copyright Act of 1957 uses two separate terms – author and owner of Copyright. This has led to rows over the concept of authorship and ownership rights

The term ‘author’ is defined under Section 2 (d) of the Act. It clearly states that in relation of different types of works that fall under the ambit of Copyright who really is the author under that category and these are as under:

in relation to a literary or dramatic work, the person who creates the work (author of the work);

in relation to a musical work, the composer;

in relation to an artistic work other than a photograph, the artist;

in relation to a photograph, the person who takes the photograph (the photographer);

in relation to a cinematograph film or sound recording, the producer; and

in relation to computer-generated work which is literary, dramatic, musical or artistic in nature, the person who causes the work to be created.

Further, Section 17 of the Act clearly mentions that the author is the first owner of copyright in a work.

However, it also highlights those circumstances where an author is NOT the owner, unless there is a contract to the contrary. These are:

a literary, dramatic or artistic created, during the course of employment of the author, for the proprietor of a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical under a contract of service or apprenticeship, the proprietor is the first owner of the copyright in that work, for the publication of that work or the reproduction of the same;

in case a photograph is clicked, or a painting or portrait is drawn, or an engraving or a cinematograph film is made, for valuable consideration at the instance of a person, that person is the first owner of the copyright;

any work created during the course of employment or apprenticeship, the employer is the first owner of the copyright;

in case of public address or speech, the person who has delivered that address or speech or if he has delivered such address or speech on behalf of any other person, then that other person is the first owner of the copyright;

in case of a Government work, Government is the first owner of the copyright;

in case of a work done or created for a public undertaking, that public undertaking is the first owner of the copyright.

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