Copyright Ordinance

Copyright Ordinance

By definition, copyright consists of a set of exclusive rights granted to a person for a limited period to protect an idea or a way of expressing it. The law covers literary and artistic works, music, films, paintings, sculptures, computer programs, and databases. The right to copy is the moral and economic right of the author/writer, publisher, performer, and producer.

In 1962, the Copyright Ordinance was modeled after the Copyright Act of 1914. To ensure proper implementation of the ordinance, the Copyright Rules 1967 were drafted. With the passage of the Copyright (Amendment) Act 1992 and the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2000, significant changes were made to the ordinance.

It is important to note here that Pakistan is a member of both the Berne Copyright Union as well as the Universal Copyright Convention. In accordance with Section 54 of the International Copyright Order 1968, the provisions of the ordinance that apply exclusively to Pakistani works also apply to works first published in countries that are members of either convention, meaning that these works have exactly the same protections as locally-produced works in Pakistan.

Therefore, any copyright existing in a member country is protected in Pakistan. Additionally, Pakistan is a member of the TRIPS accord, which incorporates provisions of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

Under the ordinance, the following types of work are protected: 

  1. Literary works 
  2. Dramatic works; 
  3. Musical works; 
  4. Artistic works, including drawings, maps, photographs, and architectural works; 
  5. Cinematographic works and 
  6. Records. 

There was an amendment to the definition of “literary work” in 1992 that included computer programs.

Protecting intellectual property

Private limited companies are among the most popular forms of business in Pakistan. Having a company structure helps Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as associations doing business at a larger scale improve their performance. 

Currently, the Companies Act of 2017 and the Companies Incorporation Regulations of 2017 govern the registration of companies. Securities & Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) is the body responsible for the entire company registration and objectification process.

What Is Copyright Infringement?

An infringement of copyright occurs when material that is protected by copyright is used or produced without the permission of the owner. Infringements of copyright occur when third parties violate the rights bestowed to the copyright holder, such as the exclusive use of a work for a set period of time. Copyright infringement is common in many forms of entertainment, including music and movies. An infringement case may result in contingent liabilities, which are amounts set aside in case of litigation.

A literary work can be infringed on in several ways:

  • Reprinting the entire work is necessary;
  • By reprinting the text verbatim;
  • Making a copy of the entire work or a part of it or reproducing it in abbreviated form;
  • Reproducing the image with colorable alternation;
  • Creating a dramatic version of it;
  • Making mechanical devices so that they can be reproduced;
  • Through public performance

Punishment for Copyright Infringement

Under Section 66 of the Ordinance, as amended by the Amendment Act, anyone who is knowingly guilty of violating or assisting in the violation of any right conferred by the Ordinance, including copyright, can be imprisoned up to 3 years, fined up to Rupees one hundred thousand, or both. 
Furthermore, Section 70-B of the ordinance stipulates that if a person convicted of a crime punishable under Section 66 is found guilty of the same crime again, he can be fined up to rupees two hundred thousand (besides the imprisonment, which may extend to 3 years).

Copyright is a Natural Right

Among our most legitimate possessions is the fruit of our minds. Just as the property acquired by a person through his own mechanical labor remains him, the property acquired through his mind’s work should be protected to the same extent. This is why copyright is regarded as a natural right. Copyright, however, has been a subject of much debate as to whether it is a natural right or one that is completely governed by statute. By definition, a natural right must be protected for an unlimited period of time.


Copyright Duration

Works of literature, drama, music and the arts (other than photographs) retain their copyright during the author’s lifetime and for 50 years thereafter. Copyright subsists if a cinematographic work or a photograph is published 50 years after it was first published.

Looking For a Trustworthy Copyright Law Firm?

Our copyright attorneys have extensive experience practicing intellectual property law and understand the sophisticated nature of the technologies our clients use. Our strong intellectual foundation allows us to serve a wide range of electrical, chemical, mechanical, and biological arts. 

We pride ourselves on providing responsive and courteous service throughout the copyright litigation process, as one of the firm’s core values. Contact our law firm to learn how we can protect your company’s intellectual property.

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