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How to Copyright a Soundtrack in India?


Last Updated on July 5, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

A soundtrack is the musical background in movies, TV shows, and other media productions. It is absolutely important to set the atmosphere, arouse feelings, and improve the audience’s viewing experience. Soundtracks can include original compositions, melodies, and background music that suit the visuals to provide a more engaging and interesting experience.

Soundtracks in India have to be safeguarded under copyright to ensure writers receive just pay for their work and to stop illegal usage or exploitation. Indian copyright law covers several components of a soundtrack, including sound records, lyrics, and musical works. Registering their music with the Copyright Office helps producers show their ownership rights and, should legal action against infringement be needed, take action.

Understanding Copyright for Soundtracks in India

Protection for several parts of an Indian soundtrack is given under the 1957 Copyright Act. Individual copyrights cover words, sound recordings, rhythmic and harmonic compositions, background scores, or instrumental parts. As described in the Act, a musical work consists of the musical notes and tune but removes any words or action meant to be sung, spoken, or performed with the music. Under copyright rules, lyrics are treated as separate literary works. Sound records, in which the producer is viewed as the author, are the assembly of sounds caught on physical media.

Protection of copyright for musical works spans the lives of the author plus sixty years in India. For sound records, the time is 60 years from the start of the calendar year after the year of release. Apart from sound recording rights, licenses for the underlying musical and literary works are crucial for completely protecting a soundtrack. Appropriate licensing ensures that all contributors receive just pay and security of their rights.

The movie and music sectors are closely entwined; the widespread usage of sound records and musical pieces in cinematograph films brings income for the owners of the underlying songs and compositions. From the lyrics to the music and its performance, the copyright law gives separate rights to their respective owners to monetize from their creation and provides security to it from being exploited or misused without their permission.

Methodical Guide to Copyrighting a Soundtrack

To copyright a soundtrack in India, you should follow these steps:

  1. Identify the owners of the copyright:

Finding who owns the rights to the many components of the soundtrack is absolutely important before looking for copyright registration. This covers the composers of the musical work, lyricists, and producers of the sound recording, as well as the instrumental work’s author. If there are several owners, it is crucial to get the approvals and No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from all parties to guarantee that the registration procedure will proceed smoothly.

  1. Compile required records:

Gathering the necessary records for the copyright filing process comes next. Including:

  • Two copies of the complete soundtrack
  • Copies of the songs’ lyrics and audio notes
  • Proof of authorship and ownership, like deals or contracts
  • Images of the recording session (optional but can offer more proof of authorship)
  1. Finish the copyright application form:

In India, the copyright filing form is Form XIV. This form must be finished precisely, including details on the copyrights owners and the soundtrack. One may send the form by post to the Registrar of Copyrights or online.

  1. Pay the needed cost:

Applying for copyright in India comes with a recommended cost. The kind of work done and the filing method affect the amount. Usually speaking, online filing is less expensive than postal filing.

  1. Notify Relevant Interested Parties:

The applicant has to serve notice to any parties who could have a claim or interest in the copyright once its application is registered. This covers everyone who might have helped the soundtrack be made. The notification allows for thirty days for objections to be made.

  1. Respond to Objections (if any):

Should any challenges be filed during the notice time, the Copyrights Registrar will offer a chance for a hearing. The applicat has to back up its claim of ownership and the validity of the copyright registration with evidence and arguements.

  1. Get your Registration Certificate:

The Registrar of Copyrights will provide a certificate of registration should the application be approved and any complaints be handled. This certificate is official evidence of the applicant’s copyright ownership and can be used to claim rights against illegal usage or abuse.

Following these guidelines and making sure the necessary licenses and papers are in place will help composers properly copyright their Indian soundtracks and protect their intellectual property rights.

Advantages of Copyright Registration for Soundtracks

Registering the copyright for soundtracks in India has several main advantages:

  • Exclusive Rights: Copyright registration gives the author exclusive rights to develop derivative works based on the soundtrack, reproduce, distribute, and perform the work. This lets one have more control over the usage and earnings from of the work.
  • Legal protection: Should illegal use or infringement arise, the registered copyright gives legal means of action against the offender and asks for damages or an injunction.
  • Licensing and Sale: The owner can lease or sell the rights to the soundtracks to third parties, therefore making income source from the work.
  • Presumption of Ownership: In every judicial process, the registered copyright acts as prima facie proof of the owner’s claim of authorship and ownership, burdening the opposing party in the case.


In conclusion, Indian artists must copyright soundtracks to defend their intellectual property rights and guarantee just pay for their efforts. By registering their soundtracks with the relevant Copyright Office, creators can establish their exclusive rights, take legal action against infringement, rent or sell their rights, and gain from the assumption of ownership in court processes.

Creators are urged to consider copyright protection first to secure their works and support India’s growing music industry. For further information and help with the copyright filing process, creators can refer to resources provided by the Copyright Office, trade groups, and legal experts focused on intellectual property rights.

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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.