Nepal | September 29, 2020

Copyright Act Amendment: What’s new and important?

Priyanjana Bhattarai
Share Now:

The Draft Bill to amend the Copyright Act, also known as the First Amendment to the Copyright Act 2059, was announced earlier this year. As Nepal has become more technologically advanced, artists now have various platforms to publish their art, such as the Internet, radio, magazines, among others. An amendment to the almost 20-year-old act was and still is the need of the hour.

Before jumping into all the legal technicalities, we must understand what copyright is. Copyright is the right given to you to protect your original expression of idea. Expression of idea means bringing the idea to life. For example, if you think of a script you must express it in some form. You cannot just go and ask someone to copyright an idea that’s only in your mind. Since ideas are not protected, if any work having a similar idea is differently expressed, it will not be considered to violate the earlier work. However, the expression must have originality and a certain level of creativity.

So, coming back to the amendment and the main question in hand: Does the amendment fill the exposed gaps in the law’s ability to deal with the new challenges that have been introduced by new forms of production and technologies?

The answer is both yes and no. The draft bill does bring certain changes which are impressive but does not perfectly fill all the gaps.

The first change that we come across is Section 2(a). The definition of “work” has been widened, and the meaning now includes translation, adaptation of work, dance and choreography, music composition, sound waves, handicrafts, engravings, any work in 3D, computer programmes, database, apps, mobile apps and software among the other things that were already present. This is very impressive, considering that the previous definition of work was very limited. This amendment has also made a considerable alignment with the definition provided by the Berne Convention.

Another important amendment in the same section is the addition of Section 2(n1) – the definition of a producer and Section 2 (n2) – the definition of royalty. Both these definitions were much needed and has made the act much clearer. However, the draft bill has failed to provide us the definitions of the terms added, such as sound waves, software, engravings and the like, which makes it difficult for an average man to interpret them.

The bill has also extended the scope of Section 3, which provides the protection of copyright. The section has been amended to align it with amended Section 2(a), to include adaptation of work and alteration of literary and artistic work in the purview of the protection granted by this section. The scope of Section 4 has also been widened and has included specification of any work that has been patented, or registered, as industrial designs and any kind of folk music and tale in the list of matters which are not copyrightable. Even though this was already in practice, it makes it easier for the Copyright Office to reject the applications on these grounds.

Section 5A has been added. This section provides for the cancellation of registration. However, the section only provides that the registration of any work which has been registered as a copyright but is deemed to be non-copyrightable at a later stage shall be cancelled. It does not provide us a proper explanation as well as the procedure to do so, it also does not provide us the timeline or talk about of non-use of the copyrighted work.

The bill has also extended the protection granted to anonymous works, by including economic and moral rights to the author who created a work by alteration and adaptation using the anonymous work, vide Section 6 (d1) and 7(c). Another major amendment is that protection by Section 13 is now granted to the work created by an author, producer, architect residing in Nepal or in a member of the World Trade Organisation or any member country that is a signatory to the Berne Convention for the protection of Copyright. Section 15A has been added in the draft bill which provides for the term of copyright in case of unpublished work, i.e., in case of a single author, lifetime of the author and fifty years after the death of the author, and in case of joint authors, fifty years after the death of the second author.

Section 23A has been added, which provides an exception to the copyright of the owner. It allows the use of the work for the purpose of providing access to people with special visual needs, without violating or affecting the economic right of the owner.

There have been other amendments related to the revocation of the copyright license, the use of the licensed work, infringement of copyright and the punishment for such infringement, the purpose of which was to align the Act with the Berne Convention.

Though the bill fails to cover the topics such as Fair Use exception, Compulsory licensing of copyright, Copyright societies and the procedure for obtaining royalties, the amendment is a step forward and is a ray of sunshine which paves the path for the artists and the authors in the country.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Diogo Jota

Liverpool maintain 100% start with win over Arsenal

LIVERPOOL: Premier League champions Liverpool maintained their 100% start to the season with a 3-1 win against Arsenal at Anfield on Monday leaving them level on nine points with pacesetters Everton and Leicester City. The visitors took the lead through an Alexandre Lacazette strike but L Read More...

Fulham, Aston Villa, Ivan Cavaleiro, Matty Cash

Villa beat Fulham 3-0 to move into top four

LONDON: Aston Villa moved into the Premier League top four after they strolled to a 3-0 win at Fulham thanks to goals from Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and Tyrone Mings in a lopsided contest on Monday. The result left Villa, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, fourth on a maximu Read More...

Private hospitals, labs to charge Rs 3,899 for PCR test

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 28 Private hospitals have fixed their own rate for conducting polymerase chain reaction tests, saying that the fee allocated by the Ministry of Health and Population was too less. Eight private hospitals and labs, including HAMS Hospital, Star Hospital, B&B Hospital an Read More...

President issues ordinances on acid attack punishment, acid sale regulation

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 28 President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today issued two ordinances to increase jail sentence for acid attackers and to regulate the sale and distribution of acid and other harmful chemicals. One of the ordinances amended the new penal code, proposing to increase jail term for a Read More...

Editorial: Unemployment problem cannot be addressed unless all levels of govt work together to create jobs within the country

The unemployment problem cannot be addressed unless all levels of govt work together to create jobs within the country Unemployment is a big problem in Nepal. That is why youths in large numbers migrate to other countries, mostly India, the Middle East, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, where they e Read More...

Ayurvedic literature: Delving into its history

The travelogue of Chinese pilgrim Faxian was the earliest testimony to describe the healthcare system in ancient South Asia. It is close to the description by the earliest Ayurvedic compendium, Charaka Samhita Ayurveda has become a buzzword in the contemporary setting of medicine in the era of COVI Read More...

Six student leaders arrested for staging protest outside Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 28 Six student leaders of Nepal Student Union, the student wing of major opposition Nepali Congress, were arrested today for staging a protest outside the Chinese Embassy at Baluwatar against the alleged border encroachment by the Chinese side in Humla district. The NSU le Read More...

Woman found dead in Saptari district

A police team has been deployed from Province Police Office, Janakpur, to investigate the case RAJBIRAJ, SEPTEMBER 28 A 50-year-old woman was found dead at Mayanakaderi village, Ward No 2 of Tirhut Rural Municipality, Saptari, yesterday. The body of Dayaman Devi, wife of local Shiv Narayan, w Read More...