Copyright provides an exclusive right over the original works in the field of literature, art, music or cinematography to its creator. Industries or companies, who are engaged in artistic creations, products or literary writing/publications or designing computer software and programs are required to protect these copyrights as soon as they have created them. In India, Copyright Act prescribes the kind of work that can be copyrighted and governs their filing, issuance and registration in order to protect them from imitation, copying or plagiarism. Start-up companies who are engaged in producing original authorship works and are into developing innovative creations must copyright their work in accordance to the Act.
Why is it important for a start-up to apply for a copyright?
A copyright gives protection to everything that falls under the purview of the ‘expression of idea’. The registration of a copyright is assessed on different factors and it ensures protection of your work for over 60 years. It tangibly proves that it is your intellectual property and legally authorizes you to sue copiers or who counterfeit their work.
Emerging start-up companies that are into trading or rendering services through web channels must invest a good amount of money in developing a website which showcases their products/services in innovative and creative style. Similarly, the start-ups who are creating innovative computer software and program cannot let any other competitor to use their creative input or programming for their business.
Hence, start-ups must evaluate whether their work is susceptible to infringement and how long the work needs protection. After assessing these questions, the start-up can decide about whether it needs a copyright or not. Its registration will keep away the threat of commercial misuse of their work for substantial period of time.
Benefits of registering copyright
Be it your promotional advertisements or your brand new logo, they all formulate a part of your expression of ideas. A start-up can seek copyright protection for different aspects of their new venture. The important consideration is that the expression of idea must contain novelty and originality. Whether your work is published, original or unpublished, it can be registered under the Indian Copyright Act. The period of protection is prescribed in the Act which is based on the nature of work.
For instance, the period of protection for musical, dramatic, literary or artistic work excluding photography is lifetime for the owner and can further extend for 60 years from the date of his death. In case of publications, it is 60 years from the date it is first published. In cinematographic work, photography, sound recordings, the duration and applicability of copyright is 60 years from the last year in which it is first published.
A start-up will also have the right to reproduce the work or reissue copies of their work to the public. It will have the right to make any translation of its copyrighted work or to make any adaptations. It can restrain any kind of deformation or modifications in its work to protect the originality of work.
Lastly, registering a copyright does not involve heavy cost and in such little cost, it ensures long-term protection to the start-up.
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