Websites and Copyright Protection
Copyright is the right of the creators of works. It is a right given to the creator of an original literary, dramatic, artistic, musical work, cinematographic film or sound recording. One need not register their copyright with to claim ownership over their work; it becomes vested in the creator as soon as the work is created.
Copyrighting a website
A website may be understood as a set of related web pages located under a single domain name and published on at least one web server. It is visible to the public through either a public or a private network.
An entire website, as a whole, is not subject to copyright protection under the Indian Copyright Law. In other words, there cannot be blanket copyright over the entire website. However, a website consists of different elements which may be copyrightable works. For example, it may contain text/content, tables, compilations, computer databases, which can be protected as “literary work.” Any graphics, photos, diagrams, maps, charts, may be protected as “artistic work.” Sound clips may be copyrightable as “sound recording.”
If you need to register copyright on your website, each of these elements will be required to be registered separately and hence would require separate applications. Hence, you own copyright only over the individual components of the website.
Elements that cannot be copyrighted
A website also contains items which are not copyrightable. These items include layout and format, the whole look and feel of the page, unoriginal elements (like icons, names, symbols), ideas or plans and functional details of the website.
Please keep in mind that it is not a compulsion to register a copyright to claim ownership and protect your work. Your intellectual property rights over your website exist notwithstanding any certificate/registration. Copyright registration does strengthen your claim in case of infringement of your copyright, being a cumbrous process, only proceed when you are sure that you need it.
Please contact Legawise for assistance in clarification of any copyright concerns you may have.