“My Words, My Copyright”: Justifiability of Performer Owning ‘Speech’ or ‘Address’

Kumar, Abhijeet

Abstract

The Indian Copyright Act, 1957 provides for exclusive rights to the creator of an intellectual piece, defined as work under the Act, by granting certain rights for commercial exploitation of the same, for a limited period. The basic reading of jurisprudence of copyright gives us two primary findings (required for the present research), i.e., there is a difference between a work, and its author, and a performance, and its performer; and that the author may or may not be the owner of the work. This further enunciates that the rights vested in the work and the performance are different than each other. This understanding finds an exception in terms of the provisions laid down under proviso clause (cc) of Section 17, which in effect talks about the who shall be the first owner of a particular work. The preliminary understanding of the provisions suggests that in the case of the speech or addresses, the performer will also become the ‘first owner’ of the work itself and will enjoy the rights of Section 14 for literary work as well as the performance. There is no dispute that the author of the work will be the person who creates the work, but the ownership is deemed to be of the person delivering the speech or address, or of such other person who delivers it on behalf of someone else. The present research aims to understand the rationale behind promulgation of such a provision through amendment, which was passed with an objective to meet international obligations, with a discussion on its relevance in present times, and tries to justify the existence of the situation, by specifically mentioning out the scenarios which can and cannot seek protection of this provision.

Keyword(s)

Authors; Performers; Oral works; Speech; Address; Expressed Words; Copyright; First owner; Berne Convention

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