Copyright consists of a bundle of rights granted to the creators over their work. It is not compulsory to register a work to claim copyright over it. Copyright protection subsists as soon as the said work comes into existence. However, it is advisable to opt for registration as the entry made in the Register of Copyrights holds evidentiary value and can come to the applicant’s rescue in case of disputes. In India, the procedure of registration is governed by Sections 44 to 50A of the Copyright Act, 1957 and Chapter XIII of the Copyright Rules, 2013.
Who can apply?
The author; or
The publisher; or
The owner; or
Any other person who is interested in the copyright.
Where to apply?
Earlier, the applicants could submit the application physically or via post at the Copyright Office located in New Delhi. Beginning from 14th February 2014, the applications are accepted online as well through the e-filling facility available on the official website of the Copyright Office.
Essentials of the Application:
Type of Form- The application for registration of copyright should be made in Form XIV, while the application for registration of changes in the particulars of the copyright that has been entered in the Register should be made in Form XV.
Prescribed Fee- The application must be accompanied by the fee mentioned in the Second Schedule of the Copyright Rules, 2013. The amount differs depending upon the nature of the work. It can be paid via postal order, bank draft or online payment payable to the Registrar of Copyrights, New Delhi.
Accompaniments to the Application: Two copies of published or unpublished work may be sent along with the application. If the work to be registered is unpublished, a copy of the manuscript has to be sent along with the application for affixing the stamp of the Copyright Office in proof of the work having been registered. In case of an application for registering a computer programme, the source and object code must be submitted along with the application. For artistic works which are used or capable of being used in relation to any goods or services, there must be a statement to that effect as well as a certificate issued by the Registrar of Trade Marks that no trademark identical or deceptively similar to the said artistic work has been registered.
Signature of the Applicant: The application must be signed by the applicant, who may either be an author or an owner of the work. If the application is being filed by the owner of the copyright, an original copy of a no-objection certificate issued by the author must be enclosed with the application. In case an attorney or any other individual is applying on behalf of the applicant, the Power of Attorney must be submitted along with the application.
For the sake of the convenience of the applicants, the Copyright Office has issued a checklist to be followed while applying.
Stages of the application process:
I. Filing the Application
As mentioned above, the applicant must submit the Form along with the prescribed fee. The Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars containing details of the applicant and the nature of the work must be filled. Each application must be in respect of one work only. The applicant needs to give a notice of his application to every person who claims or has any interest in the subject matter of the copyright or disputes the rights of the applicant to it.
II. Formality Check
Once the application is received at the Office, it is checked to ensure that the basic requirements have been met. In case of any discrepancies, a letter is sent to the applicant at the communication address mentioned in the application. The applicant has 30 days from the date of receipt of such letter to remove the discrepancy. Until then, the status of the application is updated as ‘Work Awaited’ on the website of the Copyright Office.
There is a mandatory waiting period of 30 days from the date of receiving the application. After the completion of the waiting period, the application is examined to make sure it meets the statutory and other registration requirements. In case of any objection or issues with the particulars mentioned in the application, the Registrar will hold an inquiry and give an opportunity to be heard before rejecting the application.
IV. Entry in the Register of Copyrights
Once the Registrar or the Deputy Registrar, as the case may be, is satisfied with the particulars of the application, they make an entry in the Register of Copyrights and sign and issue a copy of the same. The Registrar then sends a copy of the entries made in the Register to the concerned parties. Any person can apply to take copies or make extracts of the copies from the Register on payment of a fee, subject to supervision as arranged by the Registrar.
 Section 48, Copyright Act 1957  Section 45, Copyright Act 1957  Frequently Asked Questions, COPYRIGHT OFFICE, available at https://copyright.gov.in/frmFAQ.aspx  Rule 70, Copyright Rules 2013  A Hand Book Of Copyright Law, COPYRIGHT OFFICE, available at https://copyright.gov.in/Documents/handbook.html  Copyright Practice and Procedure Manual, 2018  Rule 74, Copyright Rules 2013