All You Need to Know About Copyright For Books

All writers and authors have niggling questions while writing and while publishing their book with regard to copyright. What is copyright, how to get a copyright for books in India, am i impinging on the copyright of someone else’s book, when does copyright for books apply, does copyright benefit the author and many more questions. We answer the 23 most relevant questions from the very basic to the more difficult to find answers, on top of every author’s mind.

Introduction to copyright for books in India

1. What is copyright? What is the meaning of copyright?

Copyright is a right given by law to the authors of literary work. It includes the right of reproduction, communication, adaptation and translation of the work.

2. What is joint authorship?

“Joint authorship” is when a work is produced by two or more authors.

4. Who is an author?

The author is the person who creates a literary work.

5. How to get copyright for books in India?

Is it necessary to register your work to claim copyright? Possession of copyright is automatic and does not require an author to register. However, it becomes valid as evidence in a court if there is a dispute relating to copyright ownership. If you want to register the copyright for a book, we explain the process of ‘How to copyright a book in India?’

6. Why should book rights be protected?

Copyright for books is necessary for minimum safeguard of the author’s book rights over their work, thus protecting and rewarding the creativity of the author. However registration is not necessary. If you would like to copyright your book, we explain the process of ‘How to copyright a book in India?’

6. How long does a copyright for books last?

All rights reserved copyright is for a limited period. In the case of original literary work, it is  60 years following the author’s death.

7. What is copyright disclaimer?

  • The copyright disclaimer spells out that the copyrighted content cannot be distributed or reproduced by others without the authors/ the person holding the copyrights, permission. It can be distributed or reproduced only if allowed under the copyright act.
  • The author or the person holding the copyright may permit its partners or subscribers to distribute the information.
copyright disclaimer

8. When can I use work by another author without permission?

All rights of the author are reserved for copyright. Only in certain conditions, some exemptions are given

  1. For research or private study
  2. For criticism or review
  3. For reporting current events
  4. For judicial proceedings
  5. Performance by an amateur club or society for a non-paying audience
  6. The making of sound recordings of literary work

9. What is the protection offered in the Copyright Act of 1957?

The Copyright Act, 1957 protects literary work from unauthorised use. Unlike patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the ideas. There is no copyright on an idea. Scroll to the end for the process of ‘How to copyright a book in India?’

10. What is the copyright symbol?

copyright symbol

11. Does copyright apply to titles and names?

One cannot copyright the title of a book. Copyright does not protect titles or names. It also does not protect short word combinations, slogans, short phrases, methods, plots or factual information. Copyright does not protect ideas or concepts.

12. Whose rights are protected by literary work copyright?

Copyright for books protects all rights of the author to their work.

13. What are the book rights in a literary work?

In a literary work, all rights reserved copyright, and the author has exclusive rights:

  1. To reproduce the work
  2. To distribute copies of the work to the public
  3. To perform the work in public
  4. To communicate the work to the public.
  5. To make cinematograph film or sound recording of the work
  6. Translate the work
  7. To make an adaptation of the work.

14. Is a translation of a work protected by copyright?

Yes. Even a translation is protected by all rights reserved copyright.

15. Can a person translate without the permission of the copyright owner of the work?

No. A person cannot translate a work without the copyright owner’s permission.

16. Is literary work copyright protected in perpetuity?

No. Literary work copyright is for a limited period. Copyright protection is offered for 60 years after the copyright holder’s death. Then the work enters the ‘public domain.’

17. Is copyright of foreign works protected in India?

Yes. Copyrights of works done in the countries mentioned in the International Copyright Order are protected in India as if such works are Indian works.

18. What books are copyright free?

“Public domain” books are those works that have been released from copyright restrictions. You can find public domain work at

  1. archive.org.
  2. On Lifewire!
  3. Reedsy
  4. Project Gutenberg is perhaps the best-known destination for public domain books,
  5. A list of sites where you can read books for free that have entered the public domain

19. How can you legally copy a book?

You can legally copy from a book if:

  1. The copyright has expired (if the book is old enough, it is in the public domain)
  2. If you have the permission of the copyright owner
  3. If you are not taking more than is allowed by fair use (this usually requires the advice of someone familiar with copyright law to figure out).

20. How can I source copyright free images for my book?

It’s pretty simple to source copyright free images.

  1. You either own the pictures.
  2. Buy the rights to use the pictures from the site where they are available.
  3. Or use pictures that are free to use.

21. Where is the copyright office in India?

The copyright office provides registration facilities for literary works. The copyright office is headed by a Registrar of Copyrights and is located at B.2/W.3, C.R. Barracks, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi- 110 003, Tel: 338 4387

22. What is the copyright for books registration process under the Copyright Act, 1957?

The steps involved in how to get a copyright for a book in India?

How to get a copyright for a book in India? It is a legitimate and important question for a writer. We outline the copyright registration process in brief below.

To register book – submit an application

  1. The application must be filled in the prescribed format and the required fee paid to start the copyright registration process. A diary number is produced and supplied to the applicant once this application is submitted.
  2. Application to register book is to be made on Form XIV ( Including Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars) as prescribed in the first schedule.
  3. Separate applications should be made for the registration of each book.
  4. The applicant should sign the application.
    Each application should be accompanied by the requisite fee prescribed in the second schedule. The fee is to be paid either in the form of Demand Draft or Indian Postal Order or through E payment.
  5. The person assigned to file for copyright registration should answer every column in the ‘Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars.
  6. Once your application is submitted, you will be given a diary number
  7. The application is forwarded to an examiner for review.

To register book – examination and objection

There is a 30-day minimum waiting period for documenting and examining any objections to the copyright application.

To register book – in case of acceptance of the application

You may trace your application using the diary. The Copyright Examiner evaluates the application for potential inconsistencies and/or objections. If there is any discrepancy, a notification will be sent, which must be answered within 30 days of the notice’s issuance.

The copyright will then be registered after the issue has been resolved or there are no problems or objections with the application. The Copyright Office will issue the registration certificate. Copyright registration might take up to a year from the day the diary number is issued.

One can register book both published and unpublished works, published before 21st January 1958, i.e., before the Copyright Act, 1957 came into force, can also be registered, provided the works still enjoy copyright.

Three copies of published work may be sent along with the application. If the work is unpublished, a copy of the manuscript should be sent with the application

In case two copies of the manuscript are sent, one copy of the same duly stamped will be returned, while the other will be retained in the Copyright Office for the record.

23. How long does it take to copyright my book, and how much does it cost?

The whole process is fairly simple but takes a long time to obtain a copyright for a book- about six months to one year, if all objections by the copyright office are attended to in the given time. Though the copyright cost obtaining the copyright for your book is a reasonable Rs. 500/- besides the cost of printed books and courier..

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