Saturday, April 24, 2010

Copy Right - Is Registration Mandatory?

Most of the articles that I have read says, if I publish anything that I own, that itself is proof enough that, it is copyrighted to me. Once I copyright anything, then nobody can use that without taking permission from me.

Recently, in one discussion in a TV Channel, Loksatta's Legal Cell Convenor C.V.L.Narasimha Rao told that, just publishing itself is not enough for copyright, and one must register it to copyright it. He said, just publishing cannot be produced as a proof in the court. Due to few other issues, the discussion did not continue on that line.

Few months back, I had met C.V.L.Narasimha Rao to discuss whether there can be any way, I can proceed legally for the issues that I mentioned in the article Is it Legal or Illegal?. He told me, what are all involved in any case. For the transport problem, the court would ask questions like,

how many buses are there?
how many passengers are there?
What is the capacity of the bus?
Which routes have problems?
How many buses are required in those routes?
Whether there was any complaint given to RTC for this?
What did they say?
Whether the issue was escalated to the Managing Director?
What did the MD say?

For any of these questions, if the response is negative or does not have supporting documentation, the court would dismiss the case immediately. Not only that, court does not involve in changing any act. If there is any problem, then court would just ask to solve that problem, and it does not involve in solving root problems or solving for long term, which is the duty of Assembly/Parliament.

Based on the above experience, I could easily understand the problems in filing a court case on copyright without registering it. Even if they publish it, still they need to prove that, they have created that content on that day or before, which is not trivial. Even if one person publishes a book, how do they prove that, that book was published in the year mentioned in that book? It is not very trivial. Theoretically, just publishing may be enough to copyright it. But, in practical, it may not be enough. So, it is better to register it to copyright.

On a side note, all the creations of all the employees of almost all the corporate companies would belong to the corresponding companies, and not to the actual person who created it. Since, almost all the companies write in their agreements that, all the creations of the employee would belong to the company, irrespective of whether it is done during the office time or not.

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