CHAPTER I Preliminary
[4th June, 1957] An Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to copyright.
Be it enacted by Parliament in the Eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:
1. Short title, extent and commencement. -(1) This Act may be called the Copyright Act, 1957.
(2) It extends to the whole of India.
(3) It shall come into force on such date
as the Central Government may, by notification in the
Official Gazette, appoint.
2. Interpretation. -In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-
(a) "adaptation" means,-
(i) in relation to a dramatic work, the conversion of the work into a non-dramatic work;
(ii) in relation to a literary work or an artistic work, the conversion of the work into a dramatic work by
way of performance in public or otherwise;
(iii) in relation to a literary or dramatic work, any abridgement of the work or any version of the work in
which the story or action is conveyed wholly or mainly by means of pictures in a form suitable for
reproduction in a book, or in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical;
(iv) in relation to a musical work, any arrangement or transcription of the work;
in relation to any work, any use of such work involving its re-arrangement or alteration;
(b) "work of architecture" means any building or structure having an artistic character or design, or
any model for such building or structure;
(c) "artistic work" means-
(i) a painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan), an engraving or a
photograph, whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality;
(ii) work of architecture;
(iii) any other work of artistic craftsmanship;
(d) "author' means,-
(i) in relation to a literary or dramatic work, the author of the work;
(ii) in relation to a musical work, the composer;
(iii) in relation to an artistic work other than a photograph, the artist;
(iv) in relation to a photograph, the person taking the photograph;
(v) in relation to a cinematograph
or sound recording the producer; and
(vi) in relation to
[any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, the
person who causes the work to be created;] [(dd)
"broadcast" means communication to the public-
(i) by any means of wireless diffusion, whether in any one or more of the forms of signs, sounds or
visual images; or
(ii) by wire, and includes a re-broadcast;]
(e) "calendar year' means the year commencing on the 1st day of January;
"cinematograph film" means any work of visual recording on any medium produced through a
process from which a moving image may be produced by any means and includes a sound recording
accompanying such visual recording and "cinematograph" shall be construed as including any work
produced by any process analogous to cinematography including video films;
"communication to the public" means making any work available for being seen or heard or
otherwise enjoyed by the public directly or by any means of display or diffusion other than by issuing
copies of such work regardless of whether any member of the public actually sees, hears or
otherwise enjoys the work so made available.
Explanation.- For the purposes of this clause, communication through satellite or cable or any other
means of simultaneous communication to more than one household or place of residence including
residential rooms of any hotel or hostel shall be deemed to be communication to the public;
"composer', in relation to a musical work, means the person who composes the music
regardless of whether he records it in any form of graphical notation;
"computer" includes any electronic or similar device having information processing
"computer programme" means a set of instructions expressed in words, codes, schemes or in
any other form, including a machine readable medium, capable of causing a computer to perform a
particular task or achieve a particular result;
"copyright society" means a society registered under sub-section (3) of section 33
(g) "delivery", in relation to a lecture, includes delivery by means of any mechanical instrument or
(h) "dramatic work" includes any piece for recitation, choreographic work or entertainment in dumb
show, the scenic arrangement or acting form of which is fixed in writing or otherwise but does not
include a cinematograph film;
"duplicating equipment" means any mechanical contrivance or device used or intended to be
used for making copies of any work;]
(i) "engravings" include etchings, lithographs, wood-cuts, prints and other similar works, not being
(j) "exclusive licence" means a licence which confers on the licensee or on the licensee and persons
authorised by him, to the exclusion of all other persons (including the owner of the copyright), any
right comprised in the copyright in a work, and "exclusive licensee" shall be construed accordingly;
(k) "Government work" means a work which is made or published by or under the direction or control
(i) the Government or any department of the Government; (ii) any Legislature in India;
(iii) any court, tribunal or other judicial authority in India;
"Indian work" means a literary, dramatic or musical work,-
(i) the author of which is a citizen of India; or
(ii) which is first published in India; or
(iii) the author of which, in the case of an unpublished work, is, at the time of the making of the work,
a citizen of India;]
"infringing copy" means,-
(i) in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, a reproduction thereof otherwise than in
the form of a cinematographic film;
(ii) in relation to a cinematographic film, a copy of the film made on any medium by any means;
(iii) in relation to a sound recording, any other recording embodying the same sound recording, made
by any means;
(iv) in relation to a programme or performance in which such a broadcast reproduction right or a
performer's right subsists under the provisions of this Act, the sound recording or a cinematographic
film of such programme or performance, if such reproduction, copy or sound recording is made or
imported in contravention of the provisions of this Act;
(n) "lecture" includes address, speech and sermon;
"literary work" includes computer programmes, tables and compilations including computer
"literary data bases ;
"musical work" means a work consisting of music and includes any graphical notation of such
work but does not include any words or any action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the
"performance", in relation to performer's right, means any visual or acoustic presentation made
live by one or more performers;
"performer' includes an actor, singer, musician, dancer, acrobat, juggler, conjurer, snake
charmer, a person delivering a lecture or any other person who makes a performance;
(s) "photograph" includes photo-lithograph and any work produced by any process analogous to
photography but does not include any part of a cinematograph film;
(t) "plate" includes any stereotype or other plate, stone, block, mould, matrix, transfer, negative,
[duplicating equipment] or other device used or intended to be used for printing or reproducing copies
of any work, and any matrix or other appliance by which
Sound recording for the acoustic
presentation of the work are or are intended to be made;
(u) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
"producer', in relation to a cinematograph film or sound recording, means a person who takes
the initiative and responsibility for making the work; 29
"reprography" means the making of copies of a work, by photo-copying or similar means;
"sound recording" means a recording of sounds from which such sounds may be produced
regardless of the medium on which such recording is made or the method by which the sounds are
(y) "work" means any of the following works, namely:-
(i) a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work;
(ii) a cinematograph film;
(z) "work of joint authorship" means a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in
which the contribution of one author is not distinct from the contribution of the other author or authors;
(za) "work of sculpture" includes casts and models.
3. Meaning of publication.
For the purposes of this Act, "publication" means making a work
available to the public by issue of copies or by communicating the work to the public.
4. When work not deemed to be published or performed in public. - Except in relation to
infringement of copyright, a work shall not be deemed to be published or performed in public, if
published, or performed in public, without the licence of the owner of the copyright.
5. When work deemed to be first published in India. - For the purposes of this Act, a work
published in lndia shall be deemed to be first published in India, notwithstanding that it has been
published simultaneously in some other country, unless such other country provides a shorter term of
copyright for such work; and a work shall be deemed to be published simultaneously in India and in
another country if the time between the publication in India and the publication in such other country
does not exceed thirty days or such other period as the Central Government may, in relation to any
specified country, determine.
6. Certain disputes to be decided by Copyright Board.
If any question arises,-
(a) whether a work has been published or as to the date on which a work was published for the
purposes of Chapter V, or
(b) whether the term of copyright for any work is shorter in any other country than that provided in
respect of that work under this Act, it shall be referred to the Copyright Board constituted under
section 11 whose decision thereon shall be final:
Provided that if in the opinion of the Copyright Board, the issue of copies or communication to the
public referred to in section 3 was of an insignificant nature it shall not be deemed to be publication
for the purposes of that section.
7. Nationality of author where the making of unpublished work is extended over considerable
period. -Where, in the case of an unpublished work, the making of the work is extended over a
considerable period, the author of the work shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be a
citizen of, or domiciled in, that country of which he was a citizen or wherein he was domiciled during
any substantial part of that period.
8. Domicile of corporations. - For the purposes of this Act, a body corporate shall be deemed to be domiciled in India if it is incorporated under any law in force in India.
1. The Act has been extended to Goa, Daman and Diu by Reg. 12 of 1962, s. 3 and Sch.; to Dadra
and Nagar Haveli by Reg. 6 of 1963, s. 2 and Sch. 1; to Pondicherry by Reg. 7 of 1963, S. 3 and
Sch. 1; and brought into force in the State of Sikkim (w.e.f. 27-4-1979): vide Notification No. S.O.
226(E), dated 27-4-1979, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3(ii), page 430
2. 21st January, 1968, vide Notification No. S.R.O. 269, dated 21-1-1958, Gazette of India,
Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, page 167
3. Certain words omitted by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
4. Ins. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
5. Ins. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
6. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2, for `architectural work of art'.
7. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2 for "architectural work of art',
8. Ins. by Act 38 of 1994. s. 2.
9. Ins. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
10. Subs. by Act 23 of 1983, s. 3 (w.e.f. 9-8-1984)
11. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2
12. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
13. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
14. Ins. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
15. Ins. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
16. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
17. Subs. by Act 23 of 1983, s. 2, for "radio-diffusion" (w.9.f. 9-8-1984)
18. Subs. by Act 66 of 1984, s. 2 (w.e.f. 8-10-1984)
19. Subs. by s. 3, ibid for cl. (1) (w.e.f. 9.8.1984).
20. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
21. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
22. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2
23. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2
24. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
25. Clause (r) omitted by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
26. Ins. by Act 68 of 1984, s. 2 (w.e.f. 8-10-1984).
27. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2 for "records'
28. Ins. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
29. Clause (v) omitted by Act 23 of 1983, s. 3 (w.e.f. 9.8.1984)
30. Clause (w) omitted by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
31. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
32. Ins. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2.
33. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 2. for "record".
34. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 3.
35. Subs. by Act 38 of 1994, s. 6
[35A. . Subs. by Act 49 of 1999, Section 2, for databasis (wef 15.1.2000)] INDIAN COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957