Copyright Laws for ImagesCopyright Laws for Images

What would you prefer a thin book filled with only text or a thicker book filled with beautiful images? I guess we all know the answer! Good images add life to even the bland text and boring stories. It creates a kind of imaginary world in the minds of reader and makes them connected to message proposed to be given.  The role played by the images make it vital to obtain the protection for them. In India images can be protected with the intellectual property right known as copyright. By obtaining Copyright registration in India for images the creator can be assured of his exclusive rights secured in his name only.  In this article we will take a look at the multiple facets of the copyright laws for images.

Copyright Laws for Images

Lawdef- Copyright Laws for Images

What is copyright?

Copyright is a kind of intellectual property right that aims to provide protection to original work of authorship including the literary, dramatic, musical or artistic.  In order to be protected under the laws it is mandatory the work produced is capable of being fixed in the tangible medium. Further, the work can be either published or unpublished.

What is the scope of copyright for images?

As soon as an image is clicked or created the copyrights are established on it and no one should misuse it. Then what is the need of copyright registration? Yes, every creative work in protected under the common law however, in order to be able to sue the person making the unauthorized use it is mandatory that the said work is protected with copyright.

Today, hundreds of people download number of pictures from google, facebook, instagram and many other platforms without paying attention towards the copyrights attached to it. That can make them and their business land in big trouble where they end up paying hefty amount of penalties. However the question that arises here is that is every image protected by copyright? No, every image is not copyrighted rather there are some on which the creator has obtained the exclusive rights but this also does not mean that every image uploaded on internet is free to use. Thus, it is of utmost importance to check the copyrights attached with the images before making the unauthorized use of them.

What are the rights that the copyright owner enjoys?

Only the person who has done all the work should reap the benefits coming out of it. On the same concept there are certain rights that are given to the holder of registered copyright in exchange of all the hard work done by him in creating the work. Some of the rights that comes along with the copyright registration in India are as follows-

  1. The exclusive right of reproduction of the protected work.
  2. The right to make the public display of the work produced.
  3. The right to produce the copies of the work.
  4. The right to create derivations of the work.
  5. The right to distribute the work publicly.

These rights make the person the sole owner with complete rights over his work. Does that mean you cannot use the protected work in any way? To bring you some relief here we will be outlining some of the ways by which you can use the protected work legally.

What are the ways to use the protected work?

It is possible to use the protected work by any other person other than the owner of the work by the following means-

By obtaining authorization from the owner-  Any person can make use of the protected work by taking the approval from the owner of the protected work  either through licensing or assignment. The agreement can be made between both the parties to use the work in exchange of the monetary benefits. However, this does not mean that for every image every person is required to pay some amount as there is a middle option of fair use that we will e discussing in next point.

Fair Use-  Fair use is an exception to the general rules of copyright and it allows the people to make use of the protected work. However, this does not provide a smooth way for copying other’s images. Rather there are specific circumstances that are considered for fair use. A person can use the images under the fair use only for rightful purposes like criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research. Further, some of the factors used to determine the permission status for copying includes the purpose whether it was used for a commercial or nonprofit purpose, amount and substantiality of the copied portion, and effect on the market of the work.

So these are the only ways by which you can use the protected work without attracting any penal provisions.

What is the duration of copyright?

The duration of copyright depends upon the factors like the year of creation and the owner of the copyright. In case the work was created on or before 1st January 1978, then the duration will be 70 years after the death of the owner. Whereas, in case the name of the creator is not known  or work is taken on hire than the duration of protection will be 95 years from first publication or 120 years from the time they were created, whichever expires first.