Copyright Registration IP Rights

A Comprehensive Analysis on Assignment of Copyright

Assignment of Copyright

The sole authority provided to the copyright holder to safeguard, market, print, publish, and record audio or visual works is known as copyright. Copyright recognizes an intelligent mind’s creative expression. The main goal of copyright is to give creators legal protection and the chance to profit financially from their works. The Copyright Act of 1957 governs copyright. Depending on the work type, it grants the copyright owner several rights and acknowledges the original work. The creators are encouraged and persuaded to develop innovative ideas, which they then transfer into stated form by recognizing their effort and receiving rewards for it.

Meaning of Assignment of Copyright

An assignment is, in essence, a transfer of ownership, even if it is partial. The copyright owner in an existing work or the future owner of the copyright in a further work may assign to any person the copyright either wholly or partially, either generally or subject to limitation, either for the whole of copyright or any part thereof. If the copyright assignment is for any future work, the assignment will take effect only when the work is expressed and not merely an idea.

No one can copy, reproduce, sell, or publish an original work without the creator’s permission. Only the copyright owner can transfer the ownership to a third party. Another essential thing to note is that with the assignment of a copyright, the assignee shall also enjoy all the rights related to the copyright to the assigned work.

Section 18 of the Copyright Act specifies that where the assignee of copyright becomes eligible for any right comprised in the copyright, the assignee shall be treated as the owner of the copyright concerning those rights. The one who assigns shall also be treated as the copyright owner concerning unassigned rights. In case of the death of the assignee, before the work comes into existence, the legal representatives of the assignee will be entitled to the benefits of the assignment.

Mode of Assignment of Copyright

Specific requirements must be met in order to assign copyright. Section 19 of the Copyright Act states that no copyright assignment shall be valid unless it is in writing and signed by the assignor or by his authorized agent. The copyright assignment in any work shall identify such work specifying the rights assigned and the duration and territorial extent of such assignment. It must also mention the amount of royalty payable, if any, to the author or his legal heir during the continuity of the assignment, and the assignment will be subject to revision, termination or extension on conditions agreed upon by the parties mutually.

Suppose the assignee does not use the rights assigned to him within a year from the date of assignment. In that case, the assignment shall be deemed to have lapsed in respect of such rights after the expiry of the said period unless mentioned otherwise in the assignment. In case the period of assignment is not mentioned, it shall be deemed five years from the date of assignment. If the territorial extent of the assignment of rights is not mentioned, it shall be understood to extend within India.

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Further, section 19(8) specifies that the assignment of the copyright of work against the terms and conditions upon which the rights have been assigned to the copyright society in which the work’s author is a member shall be void. According to sections 19 (9) and 19(10), the assignment of the copyright for making a cinematograph film or sound recording will not affect the rights of the author to claim for an equal share of the royalties and consideration payable concerning the use of his protected work.

Assignment of Copyright by Operation of Law

Assignment of copyright by operation of law means that if the copyright owner dies, the copyright shall be passed on to his representative as part of the estate if no will has been executed. Section 20 contains that if a person is entitled to copyright and that work has not yet been published before the testator’s death, such person shall be considered as having copyright in work unless a contrary intention is shown in the testator’s will or any codicil.

Moral Rights of the Author of the Work

The following are the moral rights of an author of work: –

  • The original creator of the work has the right to claim ownership of that work;
  • If there is any tampering with the original work, the creator shall have the right to claim damages. Tampering here includes distortion, modification or mutilation of the original work;
  • If, by the omission or commission of any act of the assignee, any harm is being caused to the goodwill of the original creator, then he shall have the right to claim damages. It is important to note that such an act should have been done before the expiry of the assignment term.
  • Moral rights are such rights that are independent of the author’s copyright. It shall remain with the author even if he has assigned his copyright to someone.

Read, Also: Complete Process of Obtaining Copyright Registration.

Disputes Related to the Assignment of Copyright

According to Section 19(a), the appellate board can, if it receives a complaint from the assignor and on holding an inquiry as it may think fit, revoke such assignment in case the assignee fails to make enough exercise of the rights assigned to him. Such failure is not attributable concerning an act or omission of the assignor.

The appellate board has the power to pass a suitable order on receipt of a complaint from the aggrieved party, in case of a dispute related to the assignment of copyright, and after conducting such inquiry as it deems fit, including an order for the recovery of the royalty payable;

They have provided that the Copyright Board will not conclude to revoke the assignment till it is content with the fact that the terms of the assignment are harsh to the assignor if the assignor is also the author.

Furthermore, it is stipulated that no order for assignment revocation may be issued within five years after the assignment’s date.

 In order to protect the interests of the assignor, a conscious effort has been made to establish the prerequisites for the assignment of copyright while keeping in mind both the assignor and the assignee, as well as to prepare for scenarios concerning which the instrument of assignment is not precise. The Copyright Act’s modification offers the assignor copyright-based remedies as well.

Difference between Assignment and Licensing Of Copyright

The phrases “copyright licence” and “copyright assignment” are distinct and should not be used interchangeably. Each of them is unique in its particular manner. The conduct would not be authorized without a licence and would violate the law. Typically, licencing includes granting access to some rights but not all. Either exclusive or non-exclusive terms are possible. In the case of an assignment, the copyright is “disposed of,” or, to put it another way, the assignor transfers ownership of the copyright to a different party. In contrast, in a licence, only a portion of the intellectual property is transferred, and ownership is not given to the licensee.

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An exclusive licensee has significant rights against the Licensor and even the ability to sue the Licensor. In contrast, a licence does not grant the licensee any rights against a third party or the Licensor. 

A licensee may also make modifications as long as his licence doesn’t restrict that right. The Licensor can terminate the licence if the royalties are not paid on time. It is impossible in terms of the assignment. But if anything unpleasant could harm the author, it might result in revocation if a copyright board complaint is lodged.

Contrary to copyright assignment, a copyright licence does require a written signature. It may be implicit or verbal after considering all the transaction details between the copyright owner and the licensee. As a result, everyone who owns a work protected by copyright has the option of licencing their copyright rather than assigning it. You would benefit from maintaining ownership and granting only specific rights to a third party. According to Section 14 of the Copyright Act, an assignment transmits an interest. It deals with copyright, but a licence does not convey copyright and merely allows permission to carry out activities that would be illegal without a licence.

Relinquishment of Copyrights by the Author

The clause of giving up an author’s rights in a copyrighted work is found in the Copyright Act of 1957. A writer has two options for notifying the Registrar of Copyrights: using a prescribed form or public notice. The renunciation of such rights, however, will have no bearing on any person’s rights as of the date of the notice.

The notification will then be published in the official gazette by the Registrar of Copyright. In order to keep the notice in the public domain, the Registrar will post it on the copyright office’s website within 14 days after its publication in the gazette.

The work will enter the public domain as of the date the notification is published if the copyright is surrendered. On the other hand, such rights won’t be impacted if they are already in favour of another individual as of the notice date. As a result, as soon as another person’s rights expire, the work will enter the public domain.

Conclusion

Due to the increasing number of instances of copyright infringement, the viability of copyright assignment is seriously questioned. The main goal of the assignment process is to give the creator’s original work financial and distribution rewards. It cannot be utilized to rob the creator of his work permanently.

In this evolving world, copyright assignment is an unavoidable necessity. People are not always able to rely on themselves. It is necessary to transfer ownership of the original work in order to enhance the Art and realize the full creative potential of the original piece.

FAQs

  1. What is the term of assignment of copyright in India?

    Additionally, suppose the assignment's length or territorial scope is not legally specified. In that case, they are believed to be within India and to last for five years from the date of the assignment in both cases.

  2. What is the Indian term of copyright?

    In India, the copyright period is 60 years, in addition to the author's lifetime, for original literary, theatrical, musical, and artistic works. The duration is 60 years after the passing of the last author in cases where there are many writers.

  3. What is the equitable assignment of copyright in India?

    The parties' covenants shall be subject to this assignment. It could be a full or partial assignment. When there is an agreement to assign the current work or an agreement to allocate future work, the equitable assignment results.

  4. What is revocation of assignment of copyright?

    The Copyright Board may revoke an assignment upon receiving a complaint from the assignor and after conducting any inquiry it may deem necessary if an assignee fails to exercise the rights assigned to him adequately and such failure is not attributable to any act or omission of the assignor.

  5. What is the assignment of copyright section 19?

    Any assignment of the copyright to a work must be made in writing and signed by the assignor or his lawfully authorized representative in order to be legitimate. Any work with its copyright assigned must be identified, along with the rights assigned, their length, and their territorial scope.

  6. What is the assignment and term of copyright?

    A copyright assignment is only valid, per section 19, if it is made in writing and signed by the assignor or his duly authorized representative. The assignment of a copyright in a work must identify the work, describe the kind of rights granted, and include information on the assignment's duration and geographic boundaries.

  7. What is Section 20 of copyright?

    Section 20 provides that if a person is entitled to copyright under bequest and such work has not been published before the death of the testator unless a contrary intention is shown under the testator's will or any codicil thereto, such person shall be considered as having copyright in work so far as testator was the owner of copyright immediately before his death.

  8. What is Section 32 of the Copyright Act?

    Section 32 of the Copyright Act provides that after the expiry of seven years from the first publication of a literary or dramatic work, any person may apply to the Copyright Board for a license to produce and publish a translation of the work.

  9. What is Section 32a of the Copyright Act of 1957?

    Section 32 of the Copyright Act provides that after the expiry of seven years from the first publication of a literary or dramatic work, any person may apply to the Copyright Board for a license to produce and publish a translation of the work.

  10. Which section talks about the assignment of copyright?

    Section 19 of the Act lays down the requirements to assign copyright. They are as follows: The agreement will not be valid if it is not written and signed by the assignor. The rights set, along with the duration and the territorial extent, must be established.

  11. What is Section 19 1 of the Copyright Act?

    Section 19 (1) No copyright assignment in any work shall be valid unless it is in writing and signed by the assignor or his duly authorized agent. 2. [(2) The copyright assignment in any work shall identify such work and specify the rights assigned and the duration and territorial extent of such assignment.

  12. What is Section 19 4 of the Copyright Act?

    Section 19 (4) Where the assignee does not exercise the rights assigned to him under any of the other sub-sections of this section within a period of one year from the date of assignment, the assignment in respect of such right shall be deemed to have lapsed after the expiry of the said period unless otherwise specified in the assignment.

  13. What is a real-life example of a copyright?

    Copyright works include text, images, artwork, music, sounds, and movies.

  14. What is the copyright example format?

    You must incorporate four basic elements: The word “copyright” or the copyright symbol. The identity of the work's author or copyright owner. The year that the content was released, which may not be the same year that it was created. Your declaration of the rights you reserve in relation to the materials.

  15. What is the relinquishment of copyright in India?

    This typically signifies that the author can no longer claim ownership of the rights and that they have been abandoned or surrendered. The author can choose whatever rights they want to give up, ranging from a single right to several rights.

  16. What is assignment transmission and relinquishment of copyright?

    The provisions of the Copyright Act 1957 provide that an author of copyright may relinquish all or any of the rights comprised in the copyright in his work. An author is obliged to give notice in the prescribed form to the Registrar of Copyrights or by way of public notice.

  17. Can copyright be relinquished?

    The author of a work may relinquish all or any of the rights comprised in the copyright in the work by giving notice in the prescribed form to the Registrar of Copyrights, and thereupon, such rights shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), cease to exist from the date of the notice.

  18. How copyright can be transferred?

    Copyright and neighbouring rights can generally be transferred by assignment, testamentary disposition, or inheritance. However, moral rights are not assignable.

  19. What does relinquishing copyright mean?

    Relinquishment indicates the handing over of the rights in the copyrighted work, meaning the author would no longer have the rights surrendered and cannot claim ownership over it. The author can determine the rights that they want to relinquish.

  20. What is the transmission of copyright?

    If the copyright owner dies, who was working on a manuscript of dramatic, literary, artistic, or musical work and could not publish the manuscript before dying, then, in that case, the copyright ownership is transmitted to the person stated in his will.

  21. What is assignment licensing and transmission of copyright?

    An assignment transfers an interest in and deals with copyright as provided under section 14 of the Act. Still, a license does not convey the copyright but only grants a right to do something which would be unlawful in the absence of a license.

  22. What is Section 30 of the Copyright Act?

    Voluntary license (Section 30)In line with section thirty of the Copyright Act 1957, the copyright owner in an exceeding work could grant any interest in his copyright to a person by license in writing, to be signed by him or his punctually authorized agent.

  23. What is the difference between Sections 30 and 33 of the Copyright Act?

    Under Section 30 of the Copyright Act's structure, but under Section 33, only a copyright society can do so.

  24. What is Section 30 32B of the Copyright Act?

    Section 30-32B of the Copyright Act is concerned with provisions related to licensing. Section 30 of the Copyright Act of 1957 empowers the copyright owner to grant an interest in the right by a written license.

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