Music Article

How to Copyright My Music & Protect Ownership in India

Songwriting is a very personal and artistic process. As a music producer, you have to put on countless hours and huge enthusiasm to deliver melodies, songs, sheets, and compositions that touch other people. In an alive and variegated music industry in India, it is important to know the copyrighting process for your music and to take the necessary actions to protect it as it will protect your creativity and provide you with exclusive rights to your work.

In this guide, we will help you with the steps of music copyrighting and give some information on how to protect your rights in India. Whether you are a singer-songwriter, composer, or music producer, we will examine the essential procedures you should take in asserting your rights and ensuring that your music is protected. Starting from the comprehension of copyright laws to registering your work and implementing the strategies to protect your artistic works, we have everything you need to learn about copyright protection in India.

Note: This post does not address the specifics of music copyright and ownership in India and anyone seeking advice should consult with a legal professional or copyright expert in order to obtain personalized advice and direction depending on one’s individual case.

Copyright in India

The Copyright Act 1957 as amended in 2012 is the governing law in India with respect to copyright. Copyright grants the creators/authors of original literary, artistic, dramatic, and musical works, as well as cinematographic films and sound recordings exclusive rights. The Copyright Act of India gives some rights to copyright holders including the right to reproduce, the right to distribute, the right to communicate to the public, and the right to adapt their works.

The main points regarding the Copyright Act India are as follows:

  1. Eligibility: Copyright protection comes into existence immediately upon the creation of an original work. It is not necessary to register or anything as such.
  2. Duration: Copyright in general for literary, artistic, musical, and dramatic works lasts for the life of the author plus 60 years from the end of the living author’s year. For photographs, films, sound recordings, and anonymous/pseudonymous works, the duration is sixty years from the year of publication or creation.
  3. Rights of the copyright owner: The owner of the copyright should be the only one who has the right to copy, publish, perform, communicate, adapt, and translate his works. These rights can be licensed, assigned, or transferred to third parties.
  4. Fair Use Provisions: The Copy Right Act India has certain exemptions and limitations of copyright which are known as fair use provisions. These are exceptions for the use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, review, reporting, research, education, and private use, as long as it is reasonable and does not interfere with the normal exploitation of the work.
  5. Copyright Registration: Even though copyright protection is indeed automatic, registration is advisable as it provides proof of ownership. Copyright registration in India is optional and is carried out online via the Copyright Office website.
  6. Copyright Infringement: Copyright infringement comprises the unauthorized use of copyrighted works. Legal action that may be taken by copyright owners against infringers includes injunctions, claims for damages and an account for profits.
  7. International Treaties: India is a member of numerous international copyright treaties and conventions such as the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

One must source advice from an intellectual property attorney or copyright expert to learn about the latest copyright laws in India as laws evolve.

What are the Copyright Rules for Music in India?

In India, music is an artwork and is protected under the Copyright Act,1957 with the amendment in 2012. Here are some key copyright rules specific to music in India:

Musical Works:

Copyright protection covers musical compositions including both the underlying musical notation (sheet music) and the lyrics. This may involve songs, instrumental compositions, and other characteristics of music.


A musical work is eligible for protection under copyright only when it is original, which means that it is not a copy of another work and that it reflects the creativity and original expression of the author.


The author(s), or the author of the composition first owns the copyright in a musical work. In the event that the musical work was made during employment, the employer is considered the first copyright owner. Regarding collaborations, copyright is shared by co-authors, unless decided otherwise.


The term of copyright protection for musical works is the life of the author(s) plus 60 years from the year following the death of the author.

Performance and Public Communication:

Performing musical work in public and communicating it to the public through any means are the exclusive rights of the copyright holders. This encompasses live performances, broadcasting, streaming, and digital delivery.

Royalty Collection Societies:

India has copyright societies such as the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) which administer and collect royalties on behalf of the copyright owners for public performances and commercial usage of musical works and sound recordings.

Sound Recordings:

Besides musical compositions, copyright also covers sound recordings. Sound recordings refer to the fixation of sounds in any medium, which includes CDs, digital files, vinyl records, and so forth. The copyright in sound recordings is independent from the copyright in the underlying musical work.

Licensing and Royalties:

Licensing is one of the major ways copyright owners can utilize their musical works; the use could include recordings, performances, synchronization with audiovisual works, and others. Royalties are commonly paid to copyright holders for these utilized rights.

Fair Use:

Copyright Act of India has fair use provisions where limited use of copyrighted works is allowed without permission for purposes of private use, criticism, review, research, and education. Still, the scope of fair use in musical works is based on the interpretation and, thus, may vary with the situation.

The music industry can be complicated, and issues associated with music go beyond copyright law in India. It is therefore recommended that a music industry professional or intellectual property lawyer be consulted for specific advice on music copyright-related matters in India.

How Much Does It Cost to Copyright a Song in India?

The application charge for a musical work or a sound recording is Rs. 500. The fee is liable to change and in this regard, it would be worthwhile to visit the official website of the Copyright Office of India to get the latest fee.

how much does it cost to copyright a song in India?

The fee for registration of a song copyright in India is a variable- it depends on which application mode one adopts- online or offline and whether one avails the services of an IP attorney or do it on one’s own.

Copyright Procedure for Song in India

The process of copyrighting a song in India involves the following steps:

Copyright Application:

Fill in the Copyright Application Form, which can be accessed from the website of the Copyright Office of India ( The application form should contain the title of the song, words of the song, music notation (if available), as well as the author(s) and owner(s) of the copyright. The application can be filed either online or physically submitted to the Copyright Office.

Supporting Documents:

In addition to the application form, you might have to provide supporting documents, for instance, song lyrics, sheet music, and any agreements or licenses where rights are shared or assigned.

Fee Payment:

Firstly, you should pay the prescribed application fee, which can be done either online or through Demand Draft in favor of the Registrar of Copyrights. The registration fee for a musical work or sound recording is Rs. 500. Please, get the current fee from the Copyright Office website.


For physical submissions to the office, take the completed application, supporting documents, and payment receipt (if applicable) to the Copyright Office in person or by registered mail. When filing online, submit the necessary documents together with payment electronically.

Processing and Examination:

Your application will be examined for completeness and accuracy by the Copyright Office. They could also request more papers or ask for any needed explanation.

Copyright Registration Certificate:

Upon approval of the application, the Copyright Office will provide you with the Certificate of Registration for the song or music. This certificate is the legal proof of your copyright ownership.

How to Protect My Copyright Ownership of My Song in India?

To protect the ownership of your song copyright in India, here are some steps you can take:

Creation and Documentation:

Compose the song and make sure that it is a derivative work. Create some kind of documentation of the song creation, such records might contain; dates, drafts, and any other kind of paperwork that can approve your ownership and timeline of creation.

Copyright Registration:

Although copyright protection is automatic the moment you create the song, by registering your copyright with the Copyright Office in India, you get additional legal proof of ownership, which can make enforcing your rights against infringements easier. You can file for copyright registration through the internet or by physical submission after following the Copyright Office requirements.

Copyright Notice:

A notation of copyright on your song, for example, “© [Year of Creation] [Author of Song],” would serve as a warning to others regarding your ownership and prevent copying. Though it is not mandatory by Indian law, it can be a good practice.

Contracts and Agreements:

When collaborating with other individuals or giving your song a license, utilize letters of agreement or contracts that spell out the rights and duties of each side. These contracts can protect your right to your copyright and prevent future disputes.

Monitor and Enforce:

Continuously track the use of your song to identify any possible unauthorized uses or infringement. Upon finding the infringement, an intellectual property lawyer should be consulted to consider the legal options and implement necessary measures for one to enforce his rights including issuing cease and desist letters or commencing legal proceedings if needs be.

Keep Records:

Keep appropriate records of usage of the song, licensing agreements, permissions given, and enforcement actions taken. Ownership of the record becomes history and this is evidence for future disputes.

It is important to note that it is always recommended to seek the opinion of an intellectual property lawyer or a copyright expert if you have specific queries and need to make sure that you are complying with the most recent laws and regulations regarding copyright protection in India.

How Long Is Music Copyright Valid in India

The duration of the copyright protection for music is as follows:

Musical Works:

With a lifespan of the author plus 60 years, the copyright of musical works covering both the underlying composition and lyrics is rather long.

Sound Recordings:

The copyright of sound recordings, which is the fixation of sounds in any medium, has an independent period. Where sound recordings are concerned, the duration of the copyright is 60 years from the year of publication or creation of the sound recording. If a sound recording is published or made available to the public within the period of 60 years, the duration of the copyright would be calculated from the year of its publication.

Do I Need to Copyright My Music in India?

It should be mentioned that registration of copyright in India is not compulsory for protection due to copyright that is immediately granted after the creation of the work. Nonetheless, copyright registration is additional proof or legal evidence of ownership and may prove useful in the event of any controversies or legal actions.

At Which Point Do I Violate Music Copyrights?

Engaging in any activity that violates the exclusive rights of the copyright owner without their consent would be considered a violation of music copyrights. The following actions could potentially constitute copyright infringement:

Reproduction: Replication of a copyrighted musical work, for instance, copying CDs, downloading, or sharing a digital file, or producing sheet music unauthorized.

Distribution: Unauthorized distribution or sale of copies of copyrighted music, whether physically or through digital ways, such as unauthorized streaming or file sharing.

Public Performance: The public performance of a copyrighted musical work without obtaining the required licenses or permissions. It encompasses live performances, broadcasts, public performances, and internet streaming among others.

Adaptation: Derivative works are works made based on existing copyrighted music (remixes, samplings, new arrangements) that do not have appropriate permission.

Synchronization: Synchronization right violation means using copyrighted music together with audiovisual material like movies, TV shows, commercials, or online videos without acquiring synchronization rights.

Cover Versions: Making copies of copyrighted songs and their distribution by artists who do not acquire the proper licenses.

Sampling: Unauthorised use of portions of copyrighted music recordings, particularly in composing new musical compositions or recordings.

Unauthorized Licensing: Unauthorized licensing or exploiting of copyrights of music without the correct permissions of agreements from the copyright owner or their designated representatives.

Final Thought

For the most accurate and current information on the current fees and process, it is advisable to refer to the official website of the Copyright Office of India ( or seek guidance from an intellectual property lawyer or copyright expert who can help you with the registration process and cost involved.

Also Read – The Power Of Music & How Music Influences Our Life

Abhishek Hait

MUSIC BANDA - Follow Your Endless Music Passion. Chase The Passion You Were Made For. Music Banda helps to find song notes and guitar chords. Famous Guitar songs and tutorials. Follow My WhatsApp Channel for New Updates.