Sun reflecting on RPC building.

Copyright rules in India

Published on 23 January 2018

Get to grips with the framework of copyright law in India with the 2018 TerraLex Cross-Border Copyright Guide.

What are the main sources of copyright law in India?

The Copyright Act 1957 (the Act), supported by the Copyright Rules 1958 (the Rules), is the governing law for copyright protection in India. Substantial amendments were carried out to the Copyright Act in 2012. India follows a common law legal system, so relies on case law to interpret and set precedents in law. Hence, the judicial decisions contribute to the sources of copyright law in India. India is a member of the Berne Conventions and Universal Copyright Convention.

The Government of India has also passed the International Copyright Order, 1999. According to this Order, any work first published in any country that is a member of any of the above conventions is granted the same treatment as if it was first published in India.

The Government of India has transferred copyright from the ambit of the Human Resource Development Ministry (HRD) to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). This is a strong step taken by the Government in the direction of strengthening the IP protection regime in the country and consolidating all IP-related functions under one body, to reduce possible conflicts owing to differing jurisdictions and to ensure uniformity in decision making at national and international levels.

Continuous developments in the copyright regime, such as facilitating e-filing of copyright applications, shifting of departments, availability of a list of pending applications and significant efforts taken by the judiciary to bring about a landmark change in IP jurisprudence, indicate that copyright law in India is strengthening. 

To find out more about subsistence of copyright, ownership, infringement, remedies, enforcement and copyright reform in India, download the 2018 TerraLex Cross-Border Copyright Guide.