30 Jun US Copyright v/s India Copyright- A Comparison.
Copyright is a friendly form of Intellectual Property Right which automatically provides you with protection in 174 countries as per Berne Convention which also includes USA and India.
Although it is a deemed (automatic) right, there are major advantages of protecting your work or software source code which are as follows: –
- Clear proof of ownership of work or software source code specially in this day and age when a lot of work is published online and protecting ownership of work is crucial.
Case study: One of our client based in India is a well known set designer and she has created original design of Indian version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ hosted by the popular Bollywood actor, Amitabh Bachchan. The production company responsible for producing the show in India asked her client originality of the set she had designed since the same design was available on one of the social media channels.
On submission of the US Copyright application which was made, the production company was satisfied and the matter was resolved.
- Ability to seek damages in case of infringement in USA and other major countries and statutory damages in case it is difficult to determine actual damages.
- Most importantly copyright is a criminal offence in most of the jurisdictions which ensures that infringement matters can be dealt with swiftly and court orders passed without the presence of the infringer in court.
Case Law: Piracy has been rampant on release of big budget movies in India, USA and a lot of movie loving countries. To address this issue, the producer of the movie now has access to John Doe order which is blanket order whereby the infringers are not known giving the movie producers the ability to raid premises and seize goods such as DVDs, computers, pen drives etc. This has helped big budget movies the muscle required to deal with movie piracy both online and offline and substantially increased their revenues especially in the first week of release.
So how can one go about protecting one’s work or software source code?
The owner of the work or the agent would typically file for a copyright application with details of the work to be protected.
In India, the copyright office used to be handled by Ministry of Human Resources Department which has been recently shifted to Ministry of Commerce and Industry which also manages other forms of IP such as patent, trademark, design etc. Although the process for filing India copyright application has been streamlined, there are still few disadvantages which can be overcome by filing for US Copyright application which can also be enforced in India as per Berne convention.
The advantages of US Copyright application process is as follows: –
a. The whole process of US Copyright filing is online unlike India Copyright which has to be filed online but details of the work to be protected has to be sent offline .
b. US Copyright is usually granted in 6 months if one responds quickly to the queries raised if any and the certificate is directly mailed to the applicant or agent as specified in application.
c. The filing system also has an advantage whereby one can file multiple files in different formats which are supported by system in a single application; in fact if one has high speed connection it is possible to upload a full movie upto 500MB.
Importantly for software companies whose biggest asset is software source code, can upload only first and last 15 pages of the source code which is sufficient to get copyright granted unlike India copyright office which asks for the entire source code to be submitted.
Author: Rajeev Surana (CEO & Founder, Scinnovation Consultants Pvt. Ltd.)