February 11, 2023

International Copyright under Copyright Act

This article has been written by Chirag Yadav, a student of ICFAI University, Dehradun

Copyright is a legal concept that protects original works of authorship, such as literary, musical, and artistic works, from being used or reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner. Copyright law is designed to promote creativity and innovation by providing creators with certain exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, and display their works.

International copyright is the protection of creative works on a global scale. It is governed by a number of international treaties and conventions, such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which provides minimum standards of protection for creative works in member countries.

The copyright act is the body of law that regulates the protection of creative works in a particular country. In the United States, the copyright act is contained in Title 17 of the United States Code. Under the U.S. copyright act, copyright protection is automatically granted to original works of authorship as soon as they are fixed in a tangible form, such as being written down or recorded.

The copyright act grants a number of exclusive rights to the copyright owner, including the right to reproduce the work, distribute copies of the work, and publicly perform or display the work. These exclusive rights allow the copyright owner to control how their work is used and to profit from its use.

However, the copyright act also includes a number of exceptions and limitations on these exclusive rights. These exceptions, known as “fair use,” allow others to use copyrighted works without permission in certain circumstances, such as for criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

International copyright protection is important because it ensures that creators are able to control the use of their works and receive fair compensation for their use. It also encourages the creation of new works, as creators can be confident that their efforts will be protected.

There are a number of challenges that arise in the context of international copyright. One significant challenge is the problem of copyright piracy, which is the unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted works. This can take many forms, such as the unauthorized sale or distribution of copies of a copyrighted work or the unauthorized use of a copyrighted work on the internet.

Another challenge is the issue of jurisdiction, as it can be difficult to determine which country’s copyright laws apply in a given situation. This can be particularly problematic in the context of the internet, as it is easy for works to be accessed and used from anywhere in the world.

Despite these challenges, international copyright protection is essential for the promotion of creativity and innovation on a global scale. It is important for creators to be aware of their rights under copyright law and to take steps to protect their works from unauthorized use.

India has joined the following international treaties on copyright and adjacent (related) rights in order to protect Indian works abroad:

Literary and artistic creations are protected under the Berne Convention.

The United Nations Convention on Copyright

The Phonogram Producers’ Protection Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms Convention

The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) is a multilateral convention for avoiding double taxation of copyright royalties

 Copyright Act, 1957

The terms “foreign works” or “international copyright” are not specified anywhere in the Act9, despite the fact that Chapter IX of the Act deals with international copyright. However, section 2(l) of the Act describes a “Indian work” as a piece of music, theatre, or writing in which

The author of which is an Indian national; or

(ii) whose initial publication is in India; or

(iii) whose author, in the event of an unpublished work, was an Indian citizen at the time the book was being created.

So, it stands to reason that works other than Indian Works would be considered Foreign Works. Additionally, section 40 of the Act can be used to deduce what “Foreign Work” means.

Sections 40 to 43 of Chapter IX deal with international copyright. In essence, the Act grants the Central Government the authority to restrict the rights of foreign writers in certain circumstances and treats the Foreign Works of the nations included in the International Copyright Order, 1999, as if they were Indian Works.

Power to Extend Copyright to Foreign Works (Section 40)

By publishing an Order in the Official Gazette, the Central Government is permitted by this section of the Copyright Act to extend copyright to foreign works. The fact that only the nations listed in The International Copyright Order, 1999—the Order—can be granted copyright in India—is a crucial component of this clause.

The International Copyright Order of 1999 must encompass the “territories beyond India” indicated in the subsections of this clause. Therefore, nations cannot claim copyright for their works in India if their names are not listed in the International Copyright Order, 1999. The following works can have any or all of the provisions of the Copyright Act applied to them by the Central Government, which will consider them as though they were Indian Works.

  1. All works published outside of India are to be viewed as if they were first published there.
  2.  Unpublished works whose creators were subjects or citizens of another country at the time the work was created are to be treated as though they were Indian citizens.

(c) If an author has a domicile outside of India, the Copyright Act will nonetheless apply to him as if he had a domicile there.

  1. The Copyright Act will apply to any work whose author at the time of its initial publication was a subject or citizen of a foreign country, or who was deceased at the time of its initial publication and a subject or citizen of a foreign country.

The duration of copyright protection in India must not be longer than the duration of protection granted in the nation where the foreign work was first created. Additionally, the duration of protection offered by the other nation shall not be longer than that of India.

The International Copyright Order, 1999’s formalities and requirements must be followed in order to enjoy the rights granted by the Copyright Act of 1957. Additionally, the International Copyright Order may stipulate that foreign works created prior to the start of the Order or the Copyright Act, as well as works first published prior to the start of the Order, are exempt from the entirety or any portion of the Copyright Act, 1957.


If the Central Government is satisfied that a foreign country has made or has agreed to make the necessary provisions for the protection of rights in that country, as is possible in India under the Copyright Act of 1957, it may extend the rights under Chapter VIII to foreign broadcasts and performances. The rights granted to broadcasting organisations under Chapter VIII of the Copyright Act of 1957 may be expanded by the central government.

This provision also gives the International Copyright Order the authority to fully or partially apply Chapter VIII to foreign broadcasts or performances, as well as to general broadcasts or performances or groups of broadcasts or performances.

Section 41: Existence of copyright in India as a whole

This provision states that copyright in a foreign work would be present everywhere in India.

(a) Any organization’s direction or control is used to create or publish a (foreign) work;

  1. At the time of the work’s initial publication in India, there is no copyright in the work.
  2. When it believes that the concerned country has not reciprocated the protection provided by the Indian government by not providing adequate protection to the works of Indian authors, Section 42 gives the Central Government the authority to revoke or restrict the rights of such foreign works, whose authors are not Indian and not domiciled in India, first published in India.
  3. According to Section 43, each Order issued by the Central Government in accordance with Chapter VIII must be presented to both Houses of Parliament as soon as it is issued and is subject to any amendments that may be made during that session or the session that follows.

International Copyright

An author’s writings are safeguarded by “international copyright” everywhere in the globe. Depending on the national laws of the country, protection is provided against unlawful usage. International copyright conventions and treaties have substantially streamlined the criteria under which many nations provide protection to foreign works. The International Copyright Order was created in 1999 to safeguard the creators and owners of works covered by foreign copyright and to extend national rights internationally.


An important legal document pertaining to the copyright of foreign works is the International Copyright Order. It was approved on March 24th, 1999, and went into effect on April 6th, 1999. The Central Government passed it using the authority granted to it by Section 40 of the Copyright Act of 1957. It was adopted to replace the International Copyright Order of 1991, which it replaced.

The Order includes a schedule that is divided into six parts and lists the nations that qualify for copyright protection in India, as well as the requirements and formalities for foreign works. The nations that have signed the

• 1971 Berne Convention

The 1951 Universal Copyright Convention

Convention on Phonograms in Geneva, 1971

• Trade-Related Intellectual Property Issues

Cases –

Sajeev Pillai v. VenuKunnapalli & Anr-

Question: Does Section 57(1) of the Copyright Act grant the author of a work any additional rights to claim authorship of that work after the work has been assigned?

Tips Industries v Wynk Music

Question:Exists a legislative licencing programme for internet streaming services under the Copyright Act?

YRF v Sri Sai Ganesh Productions

Question:Does copyright apply to cinematography films regardless of the underlying works from which they are made? 2. Does the phrase “make a copy of the film” in Section 14 refer to a physical copy only? Is there a substantive and material similarity between the two movies?


Aishwarya Says:

Law students often face problems, which they cannot share with their friends and families. We have started a column on our website Student’s Corner. In this column we are talking to several law students about the challenges that they face. Students who are interested in participating in the same, can fill this Google Form.


The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems to aishwarya@aishwaryasandeep.com

Join our  Whatsapp Group for latest Job Opening

Related articles