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Section 17 of Copyright Act 1957: First Owner of Copyright

Section 17 (First owner of copyright) under Chapter IV (Ownership of Copyright and the Rights of the Owner) of the Copyright Act 1957

❝Subject to the provisions of this Act, the author of a work shall be the first owner of the copyright therein:

 Provided that—

 (a) in the case of a literary, dramatic or artistic work made by the author in the course of his employment by the proprietor of a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical under a contract of service or apprenticeship, for the purpose of publication in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, the said proprietor shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright in the work in so far as the copyright relates to the publication of the work in any newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, or to the reproduction of the work for the purpose of its being so published, but in all other respects the author shall be the first owner of the copyright in the work;

 (b) subject to the provisions of clause (a), in the case of a photograph taken, or a painting or portrait drawn, or an engraving or a cinematograph film made, for valuable consideration at the instance of any person, such person shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein;

 (c) in the case of a work made in the course of the author’s employment under a contract of service or apprenticeship, to which clause (a) or clause (b) does not apply, the employer shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein;

(cc) in the case of any address or speech delivered in public, the person who has delivered such address or speech or if such person has delivered such address or speech on behalf of any other person, such other person shall be the first owner of the copyright therein notwithstanding that the person who delivers such address or speech, or, as the case may be, the person on whose behalf such address or speech is delivered, is employed by any other person who arranges such address or speech or on whose behalf or premises such address or speech is delivered;

(d) in the case of a Government work, Government shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein;

(dd) in the case of a work made or first published by or under the direction or control of any public undertaking, such public undertaking shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this clause and section 28A, “public undertaking” means—
 (i) an undertaking owned or controlled by Government; or
 (ii) a Government company as defined in section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956); or
 (iii) a body corporate established by or under any Central, Provincial or State Act;

(e) in the case of a work to which the provisions of section 41 apply, the international organisation concerned shall be the first owner of the copyright therein.

 Provided that in case of any work incorporated in a cinematograph work, nothing contained in clauses (b) and (c) shall affect the right of the author in the work referred to in clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 13.❞




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Notes:

Section 17 of the Copyright Act 1957 was amended by:
- the Copyright (Amendment) Act 1983 (No. 23 of 1983), sec. 8, (w.e.f. 9-Aug-1984);
- the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012 (No. 27 of 2012), sec. 7, (w.e.f. 21-Jun-2012).

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