Copyright Office to Increase Stakeholder Participation and Transparency

A week ago, Prof. Basheer and Pankhuri brought out an incisive two-part post (here and here) on open access at the Indian Patent Office. Through their study on the accessibility of Compulsory license orders on the IPO website, they successfully highlighted how we at SpicyIP, have always been committed advocates of open, intelligible access. Our previous attempts to further this objective have also been documented in the introduction to their post. For the sake of convenience, and at the cost of some repetition, I reproduce the same here, as well. Please see  hereherehereherehereherehere and here.

This week, we are pleased to continue the discussion on open access. This time, with a little help from the copyright office!

I direct our readers’ attention to a couple of notifications released by the Copyright Office, recently –

Notification dated 31 August, 2017

On the 31st of August, the Copyright office released a notice (available here) communicating their decision to publish on their website, on a monthly basis from January 1, 2017, the following –

  • Every entry made in the register of copyrights or the particulars of any work entered under section 45 of the Copyright Act, 1957;
  • Correction of every entry made under section 49 of the act;
  • Every rectification ordered under section 50.

The publications with regard to point (a) as outlined above, has been published on the website – separately for every month starting from January, 2017. This may be accessed by clicking on the “e-register” tab, available on the bar at the top of the copyright office website. The publications, however do not give effect to points (b) and/or (c), and I could not locate anything on the website containing these details.

Notification dated 1st September, 2017

The office came out with another notification, which was released on the 1st of September and is available here. Through this notice, the copyright office communicated their decision to publish on their website, a list of all applications received for registration of copyrights in a month. The publication is to be made on the first Friday of every month. The notification also includes the following particulars regarding this publication –

  • That this publication of the list of applicants is to be treated as notice, to every person who claims or has any interest in the subject matter of the copyright or disputes the right of the applicant, as required under Rule 70 (9) of the Copyright Rules, 2013;
  • That if no objection to the applications so published, is received within 30 days of the publication, the applications would then be examined for necessary action as required.
  • That, if after issuance of notice by the office – no work/documents is received from the applicants within 30 days, the application will be treated as abandoned, without further notice, with the liberty to apply afresh. (emphasis mine)

Pursuant to the above, the website now has a published list of applications made during the month of August, 2017. The list is available under the tab named “new applications” on the bar at the top of the website. It is a searchable PDF and may be accessed here.

Foreseeable glitches

The provisions of the new notification exist as an additional notice – over and above the notice dispensed by the applicant himself, as mandatory under Rule 70 (9) – thereby also becoming an effective safeguard for the interests of interested parties. 

Perhaps the only issue with the notifications, is the confusion that may ensue regarding the time limit for receipt of objections by interested parties. As per the notification, any objections to the application by any and all interested parties have to be received by the office within 30 days of the publication. This appears to be at odds with Rule 70 (10) which states – “If no objection to such registration is received by the Registrar of Copyrights within thirty days of the receipt of the application, the Registrar of Copyrights shall, if satisfied about the correctness of the particulars given in the application, enter such particulars in the Register of Copyrights.” (emphasis mine)

Therefore, while Rule 70 (10) mandates that objections have to be made within 30 days of the application, the notification places it at 30 days from the date of publication of the list. Since the publication of the list is to happen on the first Friday of every month, this date would differ from that of the date of “application”. As such, some confusion is bound to occur, and should probably be corrected to ensure that the intention behind these notifications is effectively realized.

Notwithstanding this tiny foreseeable glitch, the notifications do indicate proactivity by the copyright office – in realizing both open, intelligible access and a more committed stakeholder participation within the copyright ecosystem. In the copyright office’s own words, these publications are aimed at using “technology to enhance transparency and digital empowerment of stakeholders.” Here’s hoping.

Image from here.

Sreyoshi Guha

Sreyoshi is a law student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. Her favourite thing about Intellectual Property Law is Copyrights. She can usually be found doing one of three things: dog-earing her favourite pages of her books, looking up a Zomato menu, or day-dreaming of the day she'll finally meet John Mayer. She doesn't have any notable achievements, except probably that one time when she encountered a crazy pigeon, and lived to tell the tale. Send her your thoughts at: [email protected]

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