Copyright Law in Nepal (2024) Updated

1. What is the Copyright Act 2002 in Nepal?

Copyright Act, 2002 (2059) is the copyright law in Nepal, enacted to update and refurbish legal provisions concerning copyrights in Nepal. The Copyright Act 2002 (“Copyright Act“) covers the fundamental aspects of copyright law in Nepal, including the substantial provisions on acquisition and protection of copyright. Further, it explores the economic and moral rights of copyright work and the rights allocated to all relevant copyright owners. It also provides for the terms of protection of copyright.

2. What do you mean by copyright?

Copyright is the registrable ownership of a “work” that provides privileged exclusive rights to the original creator over their intellectual property. It legally protects the unauthorized application of intellectual property from unauthorized use.

Copyright extends to the following works:

  1. Audio-Visual Work;
  2. Photographic Work;
  3. Sound Recording;
  4. Performance;
  5. Intellectual and original creations include books, plays, music, designs, fine arts, articles, photographs, applied art, illustrations, maps, and computer programs.

3. What are the major provisions of the copyright law in Nepal?

The major provisions of the Copyright Act are as follows:

  1. Acquisition and Protection
  2. Copyright Ownership and Rights
  3. Terms of Protection
  4. Use of Copyright Materials
  5. Transfer of Copyright
  6. Copyright Infringement and Punishment

 3.1 Acquisition and Protection

Registration of a work, sound recording, performance, or broadcasting is not required to acquire the right pursuant to the Copyright Act. A person can voluntarily register their work, sound recording, performance, or broadcasting. 

However, thought, religion, news, method of operation, concept, principle, court judgment, administrative decision, folksong, folktale, proverb, and general data cannot be acquired as copyright. 

3.2 Copyright Ownership and Rights

The copyright holder is entitled to economic and moral rights pursuant to the Copyright Act. The economic rights include the reproduction of work, revision/amendment of work, translation of work, transformations of the work, granting rights to transfer and rent such copies, publicly performing the work, and communicating the work to the general public. Economic rights in Nepal are transferable. 

The moral rights include protection of the copyright holder and their work’s reputation, making necessary amendments, using pseudonyms, and to get their name or pseudonyms mentioned in the copies. mentioning their names. Moral rights are non-transferable rights of the author. 

Further, the Copyright Act also recognizes separate rights for performers, producers, and broadcasting companies. 

3.3 Terms of Protection

The terms of protection of economic and moral rights in context of the Copyright Law of Nepal is set out below: 

a) Throughout the life of the author and, in case of death, until fifty years computed from the year of their death. 

b) In case of joint work, fifty years, computed from the year of death of the last surviving author.

c) In case the work is published anonymously or with a pseudonym name, until fifty years from the date of first publication of such work or the date on which the work is made public, whichever is earlier.

d) In case of work relating to applied art and photographic work, twenty-five years from the year of preparation of such work.

3.4 Use of Copyright Materials

The copyrighted materials can be used without authorization in following cases:

1. Personal use;

2. Citation for fair use;

3. Reproduction for teaching and learning;

4. Reproduction by libraries and archives;

5. Public information dissemination;

6. Reproduction of computer programs for maintenance; and

7. Public exhibition of works/copies.

 3.5 Transfer of Copyright

The copyright owner can transfer all or any of the economic rights conferred on him/her to anyone by making a written agreement or by authorizing anyone to use the same with or without specifying any terms. Further, the person entitled to moral rights can transfer his/her moral rights to anyone, with effect after his/her death, by making a written agreement, with the conditions that his/her name will not be removed from the work.

3. What are the Penalties of Copyright Infringement in Nepal?

The acts of copyright infringement and the relevant punishment are as follows:

Copyright Infringement in Nepal
Reproducing and distributing works without authorization
Fines: NPR 10,000 to NPR 1,00,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months for first violation
Creating a new work by altering another's with intent for economic gain
Fines: NPR 10,000 to NPR 1,00,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months for first violation
Importing, producing, or renting circumvention devices
Fines: NPR 10,000 to NPR 1,00,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months for first violation

4. How can I get Copyright in Nepal?

The step-by-step procedure for getting online copyright in Nepal (Copyright Registration in Nepal) is as follows:

The process of copyright registration in Nepal are:

5. How do I get Copyright Permission?

Copyright permission is not required for using the work for personal uses without violating the economic rights of the copyright owner. To use the copyrighted work for purpose other than the permitted purposes, a person can contact the original copyright owner and conclude an agreement. 

6. What are the additional laws regarding copyright in Nepal

As per the gravity of the offense, the penalty for general violation of copyright law in Nepal is fine of NPR 5,000 to NPR 50,000. For the first time violation of copyright law in Nepal, the offender is imprisoned for up to  6 months, and fine of up to NPR 100,000. For subsequent violations, Copyright Act provides for fine of up to NPR 200,000 and imprisonment for up to 1 year.

7. What is the period of copyright in Nepal?

For the original creator, the copyright in Nepal is protected throughout the life of the author and, in case of death, until fifty years computed from the year of their death.

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