Copyright Registration is a formal registration of work with the Copyright office of a country. It can be transferred or assigned from one party to another creating a license to use. For example, a musician records an album for a record company and transfer all copyrights to the record company in exchange of Royalties.

A Copyright Licensing Agreement is a contract under which a copyright owner allows another person or company to use their copyrighted material in several ways such as to:

  • To re-print.
  • To distribute it; and
  • To use it for a separate amount of time.


1. Voluntary License - A copyright owner may grant any interest in the right by way of licence. However, in case of a copyright licence, such a licence will take effect only when the work comes into existence. If a person to whom a copyright licence is given in any future work, dies before the work comes into reality, his/her legal representative shall be entitled to the benefit of the licence.

A Licence Agreement ¬¬¬¬¬should have the following characteristics::

  • Duration of the licence.
  • The condition relating to reconsideration, extension/termination of the licence.
  • Identification of work and licenced rights.

2. Compulsory Licensing

Compulsory license is statutory license to do an act covered by an exclusive right without the prior authorization of the right owner. The Central Government in public interest, when a work

is unpublished, or published but the author is dead or unknown or not traceable, direct the author or his legal representative to publish the work. If the publication is not made within the prescribed period, the Board may on the application of any person grant such permission. Compulsory licensing related to Indian work will be granted by the Copyright Board in the following circumstances.

a copyright owner of any Indian work has published or performed in public has:

  • Refused to republish or allow republication of work.
  • Refused to allow communication of work to the public by broadcast or sound recording.
  • Refused to allow performance of work in public and in case the work is withheld from the public.

The copyright board, can after providing a reasonable opportunity to be heard to the copyright owner, afterward conducting an investigation and being satisfied, may order the Registrar of Copyrights to issue a compulsory license to the complainant so that he can republish the work.