By Akshaya D from The Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University


Copyright is a legal device that provides the creator of a work or literature, or a work that conveys information or ideas, the right to control how the work is used-Stephen Fishman

Intellectual property deals with creations of human intellect. Intellectual property falls into different categories like patent, copyright, trademark, design mark, etc. Every human has the distinct capacity to think differently and to innovate things. For every such invention a value has to be given for his efforts and also protection in the form of copyright in order to protect the third party to use without permission or license. The need for protection of such intellectual property is to induce the advancement in every field such as science, arts, literature, etc. Copyrights can be divided into copyrights that are economic rights which protect the economic value of a copyright work and the rights which protect the moral interests of a copyright work. Copyright work such as artistic work, dramatic work, literary work, cinematographic work, etc plays an important role in the development process of the country. This article mainly envisaged on the economic rights of the copyright owner.


Copyright refers to the legal right of the owner of intellectual property to do or authorise the doing of any act specified under the Copyright Act, 1957 in respect of any work. As no right is absolute, the doctrine of “Fair Use” covered under the section 52 of the 1957 Act, is an exception to the rights of the author. The person can reuse the copyrighted work without the owner’s permission for the following reasons

  •  Comments
  • News reporting
  • Criticisms
  • Research
  • Teaching
  •  Scholarship[1]



  • Right of reproduction
  • Right of adaptation and translation
  • Right  of distribution
  • Rental right
  • Right of public performance
  • Right of broadcasting


  •  Paternity right
  • Integrity right


  •  Performer’s right


The rights are classified on the different parameters and one such most important parameter is economic parameters. The economic rights help the author to derive the economic benefit which enables the author to transfer these rights to the purchaser because of which in recent days the producer can produce a movie, songs, etc. and the author whose labour skills has been paid to them for waiving their rights. So thus, this forms a contractual relationship between the authors who creates it and the producer or the manufacturer who produces it[2]. Economic rights are categorized into various rights which enable the author to derive financial reward from their use of their works by others. The owner of the copyright-protected work can decide how to use the work, and may prevent others from using it without permission.


The right of reproduction is perhaps the most important right granted by the copyright Act. Under this right, no one other than the copyright owner may make any reproductions or copies of the work. Some examples of unauthorised acts under this right are incorporating a portion of another’s song into a new song, copying a computer software program, etc. Even if part of an original work is copied it amounts to reproduction(Ladbroke ltd v. William hill ltd). All that is necessary is that the copying be “substantial and material.”

This right was recognised by the Berne convention on the protection of literary and artistic works, 1886 by the Universal Copyright Convention, 1952 and also by the Indian law on copyright contained in the Copyright Act,1957[3]


The right to distribution gives the copyright owner the ability to control the manner in which a work or a copy of a work is transferred to others, whether by sale, rental, or lease. This right not only gives the owner the right to distribute but also allows the copyright holder to control the unauthorised distribution of authorised copies.


This right enables the owner to have control of the manner in which a work is publicly performed. For a performance said to be public the following points to be minded:

  1. When performed in a place open to the public
  2. Performed at a place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal family circle and its social acquaintances to multiple locations.
  3.  When it is transmitted to various locations.

However, a proviso has been added to clause 2(qq) of Section 2, which said that a person whose work is not recognised anywhere shall not be regarded as performers except for the purpose stated under clause (b) of Section 38B[4].


Sections 37-39A was inserted by Amendment Act, 1994 which speaks about broadcast reproduction rights only.

Broadcast which means communication to the public:

  1. By any means of wireless diffusion, whether in any one or more of the forms of sign, sounds, visuals images; or
  2. By wire[5]

Article 8 of the WCT clarifies that it should be covered by an exclusive right, which the treaty describe as the authors’ right to authorise the making available of their works to the public “in such a way that the members of the public can access these works from a place and at a time individually chosen by them”.


This an another right given to the copyright owner is to authorize rental of copies of certain categories of work, such as musical works in sound recordings, audiovisual works and computer programs. This is so necessary because in order to prevent abuse of the copyright owner’s right of reproduction when technological advances made it easy for rental shop customers to copy such works[6].


Translations and adaptations are themselves works protected under copyright. In order to publish a translation or adaptation, permission ought to be obtained from both the owner of the copyright in the original work and the owner of the copyright in the translation or adaptation[7]. With the digital world, users can easily manipulate text, sound and images to create user-generated content so the scope of right to adaptation has been the subject of significant discussion in recent years.


The Berne convention, in Article 6bis, requires its members of the Berne Union to provide legal recognition for the moral rights of attribution and integrity in a work in which copyright exists. There are four moral rights based on the Berne Convention which are

  1. The right o be identified as the author of the work, the “paternity right”
  2. The right of an author ri object to derogatory treatment of their the “right to integrity”
  3. The right to object to false attribution
  4. The right to privacy in photographs and films.

The Berne Convention requires these rights to be independent of authors’ economic rights. Moral rights are only accorded to individual authors and in many national laws they remain with the authors even after the authors have transferred their economic rights.

Each of these rights are subject to certain limitations and exceptions that may significantly limit the application or enforceability of these rights.


This article particularly focused on making aware of the economic rights guaranteed to the author of the copyright-owner. The main aim of the copyright act is to protect the labour, the skill of a person which results in a new idea. The rights of the author to acknowledge his economic rights consequently gives him the reward in the form of money which enabled him to support financially. So, for a developing country like India it is most essential to innovate things and to get recognise of those rights for the development of the nation.


  5. Intellectual property law; Elizabeth Verkey, 1st edition 2015.

[1] Page number. 22;intellectual property book 1st edition 2015; Elizabeth verkey



[4] Elizabeth verkey. Intellectual Property Law, 1st edition 2015,Page number .88

[5] Copyright act, S.2(dd)




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