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Copyrights of Music in India -Things You Need to Know


Last Updated on June 24, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

The Indian Copyright Act of 1957 shields original literary, theatre, musical, and artistic works. This rule makes sure that artists are honored and paid for their work. Artists and artists want copyright safety because it gives them full management over their works. In this way, they are able to control how their unique works are made, shared, and copied.

Copyright protection promotes creativity and new ideas in the music business by giving artists a reason to spend time and effort writing new songs. It protects the financial interests of artists and other partners so they can sell their works and get fair pay for their musical work. Indian music businesses would grow and improve culture if copyright rules were followed. Producers, lyricists, and singers would also be able to make money.

Who is the Creator of the Musical Work?

The Indian Copyright Act, Section 2, says that the “composer” of a musical piece is the person who writes or records the music, even if the music is not written in a graphics form. An application can be filed jointly in the instance of a cooperative musical work in which many writers or musicians work together. A “work of joint authorship” is described by Section 2(z) of the Act as one that is made by two or more authors working together and in which the contributions of each are not unique. Ensuring that all participants have equal rights and control over the joint work, this acceptance of joint authorship allows the protection and recognition of the cooperative efforts of several composers.

Timeframe of Legal Protection

Individual Musical Works: Individual musical works are covered by copyright for the author’s lifetime plus an extra sixty years.

Joint Musical Works: Protection for joint musical works ends sixty years following the death of the last live author.

Duration of Protection: The duration of copyright protection in India varies according to the kind of work:

  • Literary, dramatic, singing, and artistic works: sixty years after the author’s death.
  • Cinematograph films, photographs, and computer programs: 60 years from the year of publication.
  • Sound recordings: 60 years from the year of release.
  • Government works: 60 years from the year of release.
  • Broadcasts: 25 years after the broadcast year.

What is Musical Work?

Section 2(p) of the Indian Copyright Act describes a musical work as a work made up of music together with any graphical notation of the work; words or actions meant to be sung, spoken, or acted with the music are not included. This term includes several kinds of musical compositions:

  • Melodies: Composition of Music itself like harmonies and rhythms.
  • Lyrics: The words meant to be spoken or sung along with the music are called lyrics.
  • Arrangements: Modifications of already-written works, such as the introduction of new beats or harmonies.
  • Sound Recordings: Sound recordings are audio recordings made on phonograph discs, open-reel tapes, and other devices from which such sounds may be created.

Because these kinds of musical works are covered by the Copyright Act, their writers are promised fair credit and payment for their original works.

What is Copyright in Musical Works?

Legal Protection

In Indian musical works, copyright refers to the legal protection given to authors of original musical compositions. This security makes sure that, without their agreement, their works are not spread, performed, reproduced, or made public. A 1957 Indian Copyright Act recognizes music as an artistic medium worthy of security and legal rights.

The Exclusive Rights

Composers, lyricists, and music producers are given exclusive rights that include the ability to use, share, and earn from their musical works. Among these rights is the ability to control how their works are performed, spread, and reproduced. The Act tackles rhythm, words, orchestration, and sound recordings among other aspects of musical works.


The promotion of creativity and progress in the music business rests on copyright protection. It ensures artists get the right credit and money for their unique works. Additionally covered by this safeguard are the financial interests of artists and other parties. Retaining the purity of original music and stopping copyright infringement rely on the judicial system around copyright.

Difference between Sound Recording and Musical Work

A “sound recording” is described by Section 2(xx) of the Indian Copyright Act as a recording of sounds from which such sounds may be produced, independent of the medium or method used to make the recording.

Musical compositions and sound recordings vary mainly in:

  • Authorship: The composer is the author of a musical piece; the producer is the author of a sound recording.
  • Rights: Broader rights include the ability to perform, share, copy, and change musical compositions. Less rights apply to sound recordings, like the ability to make copies and share the information with the public.
  • Protection: Sound recordings are protected 60 years after they are released, whereas musical works are protected for the author’s lifetime plus 60 years.

Because writing music needs different artistic inputs than making a sound recording, the roles and rights connected with each kind of production are varied.

Recognizing and Protecting Music Copyright

Master and composition copyright

  • Ownership of a song’s original recording is referred to as master copyright. Among these are the rights to openly broadcast, share, and reproduce the recording.
  • The composition copyright protects the rights of the musical composition itself, including the arrangement, lyrics, and melody.

Rights Assigned to Owners of Copyrights

  • Distribution: Permission to make copies of the work available to the general public.
  • Reproduction: The right to duplicate the work in any manner.
  • Licensing: The power to permit other people to use the work.


Indian copyright laws offer songwriters, lyricists, and music producers exclusive rights to keep unique musical compositions and sound records. Original works are automatically covered by copyright, but copyright registration is recommended to get legal advantages and world fame. The music business depends on copyright rules being followed as they guarantee authors receive payment for their work and protect the purity of unique music. Artists run the danger of suffering social harm and financial losses without this safety. Through understanding and observance of copyright laws, the music business may prosper and support artistic endeavors.

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Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.