Copyright law in Nepal: Everything you need to know about

Copyright. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
Copyright. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Copyright is a right provided to the creator for the protection of the expression of their idea. It is regarded as intellectual property. Copyright protection includes protection of a variety of rights such as those related to literary and artistic works like novels, poems, plays, films, musical works, paintings and drawings, photographs, sculptures, and architectural designs, among others.

Applicable laws in Nepal

In Nepal, Nepal Copyright Registrar’s Office (NCRO) is the concerned official body to monitor and overlook copyright-related issues.

The following laws are related to copyrights in Nepal:

  1. The Copyright Act, 2059 (2002)
  2. Copyright Rules, 2061 (2004)
  3. The procedure of Nepal Copyright Registrar’s Office, 2061

Internationals treaties, conventions and agencies

  1. Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
  2. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  3. World Trade Organization (WTO)
  4. Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works 1886
  5. Universal Copyright Convention 1952

Subject matters protected under the copyright laws in Nepal

The Copyright Act, 2002, has enlisted various areas and works protected with copyright as listed below:

  1. Books, pamphlets, articles, theses, lectures etc
  2. Dramas, dramatic music, dumb shows and works prepared to perform in such manners
  3. Musical notations with or without words
  4. Audiovisual works
  5. Architectural designs
  6. Photographic and fine arts, paintings, sculptures, woodcarving, lithography, works of applied art, illustrations, maps, plans etc
  7. Computer programs

Rights conferred by the Copyright Act

Copyright is not a single right but a bundle of rights that can be discussed independently. The rights conferred by the Copyright Act are as follows:

  1. Economic rights
  2. Moral rights
Economic rights

Economic rights refer to the rights provided to the creator pursuant to section 7 of the Copyright Act, 2002. Economic rights are transferable rights of the creator, which can be transferred by concluding an agreement with the users. The creator may use the economic rights by him/herself or can allow others to use creation for generating wealth from it.

The creator shall have the following exclusive economic rights as mentioned in the section:

  1. To reproduce the work
  2. To translate the work
  3. To revise or amend the work
  4. To make arrangement and other transformation in the work
  5. To sell, distribute or rent the original and copy of the work to the general public
  6. To transfer or rent the audiovisual work, work embodied in sound recording, computer program or musical work in graphic form conferred to that author or owner
  7. To import copies of the work
  8. To have a public exhibition of the original or copy of the work
  9. To perform the work in public
  10. To broadcast the work
  11. To communicate the work to the general public
Moral rights

Further, section 8 of the Copyright Act, 2002, has listed the moral rights of the creator on the particular creations. The moral rights listed by the act are mentioned below:

  1. To get his/her name mentioned in copies of the work or in his/her work where it is used publicly
  2.  In cases where, instead of his/her real name, a pseudonym is mentioned in his work, to get that pseudonym mentioned while using such work publicly
  3. To prevent such acts as undermining the reputation or goodwill earned by him/her, by mutilating his/her work or presenting it in a distorting manner
  4. To make necessary amendment or revision in the work

Infringement of copyright

Section 25 of the Copyright Act, 2002 describes infringement of copyright. As per the provision, the following acts would amount to infringement of copyright:

  1. To reproduce copies of a work or sound recording and sell and distribute them or publicly communicate or rent them with commercial or any other motive with or without deriving economic benefits without authorisation of the author or the copyright owner or by infringing the terms contained in the agreement or licence
  2. To do an advertisement or publicise by copying a work belonging to another person with a motive of taking advantage of the reputation gained by that work
  3. To make work of another subject or nature by changing the form and language of a work belonging to another person with a motive of deriving economic benefit
  4. To make an attempt to take benefit by adapting any work directly or indirectly with an intention of making the viewer, listener or reader believe it to be another work through advertisement or by any other means
  5. To import, produce or rent any equipment or device prepared with intention of circumventing any device designed to discourage the unauthorised reproduction
  6. To produce or import, with intent to sell, any equipment facilitating unauthorised reception of a program broadcast by encrypting it in a code language
  7. To import, sell, distribute and use a mechanical device prepared with the sole objective of infringing the copyright

Punishment for copyright infringement

Section 27 of the Copyright Act, 2002 mentions that if any person is found doing the aforementioned acts, he/she shall be punished with a fine of Rs 10,000 to Rs 100,000 or with imprisonment of up to six months or both. If the same person is convicted for the second time, such person shall be fined Rs 20,000 to Rs 200,000 or with imprisonment of up to one year or both.

The material published or reproduced or distributed or devices used to reproduce such material shall be seized.

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Regmi is an advocate associated with Associates Hub Law Firm.

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