Intellectual PropertyNews

New Copyright Rules make Copyright Registration of Source Code easier

The Government of India has notified the Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2021 vide a Gazette notification dated 30th March, 2021. The new amendments aim to bring the existing rules in parity with other relevant legislations. Also, it aims to ensure smooth compliance in the light of the technological advancements by enabling electronic means as primary mode of communication and working in the Copyright Office. e.g. The Copyright Office can store indexes solely in electronic form. Most notably, the new rules make copyright registration of source code easier.

The Amendments

Rule 7 of the Copyright Rules, 2013, deals with ‘Compulsory Licenses in works withheld from public’. Earlier, an applicant had to file the application with the copyright office and also had to serve a copy of the application to the owner of the copyright, through registered post. The amendment allows such a notice to be served through electronic means as well.

7. Notice of application: (1) a copy of application under rule 6 along with the documents relied upon shall be served on the owner of the copyright through electronic means or by registered post.

There is a similar change in applications for ‘license for publication, translation, and re-production of work’.

39. Notice of application- (1) A copy of such application shall be served ‘through electronic means or’ by registered post on the owner of copyright.

A New Rule

The Amendment incorporates a new Rule 55(3). Rule 55 regulates collection of royalty by a copyright society. As per the new rule, copyright societies shall create a system of payment through electronic modes and shall establish a system through which the payments so made are traceable.

Copyright Registration of Source Code

Earlier, Rule 70(5), which governs copyright registration of source code, mandated that every application for registration of a computer program shall be accompanied by the source and object code.

Every application for registration of a computer program shall be accompanied by at least first 10 pages and last 10 pages of source code, or the entire source code if less than 20 pages, with no blocked out or redacted portions.

Earlier, for copyright registration of computer programs more than 50 pages in length, the applicant had to send one copy of the first 25 and last 25 pages of the source code. The submission is usually done on paper or microform. Just for your reference, The Chrome browser that I am writing this article on has 6.7 million lines of code. The Android OS that you are using to read this article has more than 12 million lines of code. Now for your reference, if you print a million lines of code, that would be about 18,000 pages. (Go ahead, do the math!)

Here is the amendment for your reference. And here is a copy of the Copyright Rules, 2013.

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Rohit Ranjan Praveer

Rohit is a practicing advocate at Delhi. Beginning as a tech enthusiast, Rohit always had a keen interest in computer forensics and information security. Building upon these fundamentals, he has undertaken extensive research on various techno-legal topics and continues his pursuit pass on valuable information to the masses, with a zeal to build something that outlasts him.​

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