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Salil Kumar Adv   05 September 2023

Copy Right of a book

who will have the copy right of a book, whether to the author or to the publishing company ?


 8 Replies

T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Advocate)     06 September 2023

Ordinarily the author is the first owner of copyright in a work.

Copyright protects the rights of authors, i.e., creators of intellectual property in the form of literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings.

Dr. J C Vashista (Advocate )     06 September 2023

It's reserved with "author" and not "publisher", till the copy right is purchased or agreed to be retained by "publisher" as it is the intellectual properietory of "author".

Hardeep (Business)     06 September 2023

Initially with the creator, then with those he assigns it to. Note that the assignment can be limited. For example, only the translation rights of a book may be assigned. Or it may be without any restrictions. Draft your agreements carefully ! DM for a review.

Udbhav Mehta   06 September 2023

According to Section 17 of the Copyright Act of 1957, the author is the first owner of a copyright but the author also has the option to sign an agreement or contract to transfer these rights to a publishing company. The rights seceded can be complete or partial. Section 17 a) and c) talk about copyrights in the case of a work made in the course of the author's employment under a contract of service or apprenticeship and suggest that the employer shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright.

To file a copyright, go to:

You could visit this government handbook for other basic information about copyrights:

Hardeep (Business)     07 September 2023

Correct. Any IP created under a contract of employment as part of the job will normally be construed in the favor of the employer unless specific agreement sets out the contrary. To be more sure still, the Emplyment Contract will usually spell it out.

Situation gets more complex if IP may be construed as "not part of the job" .

Aadil (Student)     03 June 2024

Dear Salil Kumar,

Thank you for your query! I am Aadil and I will try to answer your question.


Laws and regulations related to copyright in India are contained in the Copyright Act, 1957. It defines copyright as the exclusive right to do or authorise to do actions like reproducing, copying, translating, performing, etc., of any original literary, musical, artistic, and dramatic works.


Chapter IV of the Copyright Act pertains to the ownership of a copyright and the rights of this owner. Section 17 of the same explains who can be the first owner of a copyright. It states that the first owner of a copyright shall be the author of the work, where author in the case of literary works is defined in the Copyright Act in section 2(d)(i) as the writer or author of that work.


Section 17(a) also provides an exception to this rule, stating that if the author created said work during the course of his employment by the proprietor for a publishing company under any such contract of service or apprenticeship, and for the purpose of publishing said work in a newspaper, magazine, or any other such publications, unless any agreement exists to specifically give the ownership of the work to the author, the first ownership of the copyright shall be given to the proprietor.


Therefore, the first ownership of the copyright of a literary work shall go to the author of that work unless they work for some proprietor under whose employment and for the purpose of publishing said work by the proprietor was this work created, provided an agreement to give the first copyright ownership to the author of the work was not previously made.

I hope this helps. Thank you for your time and patience!




Hardeep (Business)     05 June 2024

Looking for a lawyer experienced in Copyright infringement litigation in Delhi area for some collaboration.

If you are one, please respond urgently to 9810290988. Else refer to any suitable. Thank you.


Dr. J C Vashista (Advocate )     06 June 2024

It is for you to search for a lawyer from this platform or local Bar association(s), however, if you feel so, may contact me on appointment at my email or chamber in Dwarka Courts, as provided in profile.

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