Musical work

Copyright Act, 1957 – Section 2

Section 2(p) reads as follows:

musical work” means a work consisting of music and includes any graphical notation of such work but does not include any words or any action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the music

The expression is defined to mean any composition that could be represented by any graphical notation but it does not include the lyrics intended for singing or reciting or performing with music. The use of graphic notation itself is not a pre-requisite as the definition of composer in Section 2(ffa) states that “composer”, in relation to a musical work, means the person, who composes the music regardless of whether he records it in any form of graphical notation. By way of illustration, a traditional rendering of Indian music is comprised of rhythm set through talas and composed to a musical lilt through swaras. The lyrics are yet another component which are the words that go into music. They are the literary component of music. When a performer sings the lyrics with music, he expounds an artistic work. In other words, if lyrics composed is set to music and a vocal rendition is made, it is literally a combination of three ‘works’. The lyric is the ‘literary work’, the musical notation is the ‘musical work’ and the actual performance by the singer is the ‘artistic work’, as admirably summed up by a decision in Sankar Biswas v. Salil Chatterjee (1992) 96 CWN 540. The fourth dimension could be added now to understand what a sound recording is. The term “sound recording” is defined u/s 2(xx), as follows:

Section 2(xx)-“sound recording” means a recording of sounds from which such sounds may be produced regardless of the medium on which such recording is made or the method by which the sounds are produced.

It means a recording of sounds in any medium which when played reproduces that sound. Under the definition, it could be any medium on which such recording is made. It could also be by any method by which the sound is produced. Recording could be made of the voice or from an instrument or any form that is discerned by senses. As examples, it could be in a CD, in a cassette, in a gramophone record, or in the device which not merely records it but also is capable of reproducing it. A record itself is meaningful only when it can be reproduced. It can be a music which is recorded; it could be a speech, which is recorded; or it could any sound which is recorded. Every one of such recording that is capable of reproduction in any form goes for sound recording. Where do these rights reside? They reside in author or authors of each one of the above. Section 2(d) that defines an ‘author’ means, (ii) in relation to a musical work, the composer; …(v) in relation to a cinematograph film or sound-recording, the producer. When is the author’s right infringed? An ‘infringing copy’ is defined Section 2 (m) that includes 3 components viz., (i) in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, a reproduction thereof otherwise than in the form of a cinematographic film; (ii) in relation to a cinematographic film, a copy of the film made on any medium by any means; (iii) in relation to a sound recording, any other recording embodying the same sound recording, made by any means.

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A public place of amusement

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