A license is the transfer of interest in copyright. In a license, the right to use a copyright is given to another party with some restrictions on such usage.It can grant the right in the copyright of work which is already in existence or copyright in some future work which is yet to come in existence.

A licensee can use the copyrighted work without any claim of infringement or unauthorized use being brought by the owner of the copyright against the licensee. The license can be classified into following categories:

Voluntary license (Section 30):

The author or the copyright owner has exclusive rights in his creative work and he alone has right to grant license with respect to such work.

According to section 30 of the Copyright Act 1957, the owner of the copyright in a work may grant any interest in his copyright to any person by license in writing, which is to be signed by him or by his duly authorised agent.

A license can be granted not only in existing work but also in respect of the future work. Where a licensee of the copyright in a future work dies before such work comes into existence, his legal representatives shall be entitled to the benefit of the license if there is no provision to contrary.

Voluntary licenses can be:

  • Exclusive – The term exclusive license has been defined in Section 2(j) as a license which confers on the licensee and persons authorized by him, to the exclusion of all other persons, any right comprised in the copyright work.
  • Non-exclusive – It does not confer right of exclusion. It is mere grant of an authority to do a particular thing which otherwise would have constituted an infringement. When owner grants an exclusive right, he denudes himself of all rights and retains no claim on the economic rights so transferred.
  • Co-exclusive – Here the licensor grants a license to more than one licensee but agrees that it will only grant licences to a limited group of other licensees.
  • Sole license – Where only the licensor and the licensee can use it to the exclusion of any other third party.
  • Implied license – Author impliedly allows or permits the use of his work. For example, he had knowledge that someone is using his work but he did not take any action.


Why it is Important?

Copyright licensing is important due to various reasons such as; it provides access to the works that have been unreasonably withheld from the public domain.

It provides access to the public so that it can be used for various academic and beneficial reasons. As it is well known that it gives license for various kinds of the license which includes orphan works as well as the works from a disabled person.

The main motive behind compulsory licensing is to give the availability of the work to the public so that they can use and benefit from the work for various purposes. It is also important to note that the work should be used in a fair manner and no malpractices should be practiced. When the copyright works will be available to all with certain limitations it will lead to better development of the country.

Compulsory Licensing in India:

Being a member of Berne Convention, India has incorporated the provision of compulsory license in the Copyright Act, 1957. The Act provides for grant of compulsory license for Indian work in the public interest, in certain circumstances:

  • Works Withheld from Public.
  • Compulsory License in Unpublished or Published Work.
  • Compulsory License for the Benefit of Disabled Persons.
  • License to Reproduce and Publish Works for Certain Purposes.
  • License to Produce and Publish Translation of Literary or Dramatic Work in any Language.

Read more blogs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This field is required.

This field is required.


The following disclaimer governs the use of this website (“Website”) and the services provided by the Law offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates in accordance with the laws of India. By accessing or using this Website, you acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer.

The information provided on this Website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice or relied upon as such. The content of this Website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Firm. Any reliance on the information provided on this Website is done at your own risk.

The Law Firm makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information contained on this Website.

The Law Firm disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this Website or for any actions taken in reliance on the information provided herein. The information contained in this website, should not be construed as an act of solicitation of work or advertisement in any manner.