Chapter 09 of the Copyright Act 2000 provides for the provision for licenses. In a gist the licenses covered under the Act are:

  1. License by owner (section 48)
  2. Compulsory license (section 50 and 51)
  3. License to produce and publish translation (section 52)
  4. License to reproduce and publish works for certain purposes (section 53)
  5. Termination of License granted under the Copyright Act 2000.

By virtue of being the owner of the work, the owner has exclusive rights to exploit his work and therefore the right to license in respect of his work.

Work Withheld from Public – Compulsory License

There can be instances when the owner, during the term of copyright, refuses to republish the work or refuse performance of the work in public and thereby the work is withheld from public; or the owner has refused to communicate the work to public by way of broadcast. In such cases, the applicant who desires the work to be published / performed or communicated by broadcast, can make an application before the Copyright Board and the Copyright Board after giving an opportunity to the owner of the work and after conducting necessary inquiry, and upon satisfaction that the withholding of work is not reasonable or in public interest, then in such case the Board may:

  1. Fix the fee to be payed to the owner for license.
  2. Other terms and conditions to apply on the license

direct the Registrar to grant license to the applicant(s) who wishes to republish / perform/ communicate by way of broadcast the work withheld from the public.

Unpublished Bangladeshi Work – Compulsory License

The Act also provides for instance where the author/ owner of an unpublished work is deceased or untraceable and an interested party is willing to use such unpublished work. In such cases, the interested party can make an application before the Copyright Board, after taking following necessary steps:

  1. Proposal of using such work to be published in one issue of a daily newspaper in the Bengali language and in one issue of a daily newspaper in the English language having circulation in Bangladesh. However, if the application is intended to be moved for translation or adaptation in any language, then circulation must also be made in respective language.
  2. The application must be moved in the format prescribed and with the copy of the advertisement published along with requisite fees.

The Board can then after conducting necessary inquiry can direct the Registrar to grant license to applicant/ interested person for using the work. The Board is empowered to decide the amount to be payed as royalty in the account specified, in order to enable the owner/ heir/ executor to claim such amount subsequently.

Similarly, if a work is in public interest and the owner is dead, then the Government may ask the heir/ executors or legal representatives to publish the work in prescribed time. However, if such publications are not made then the Board may allow interested parties to make the publication on payment of royalty determined and on terms and conditions decided.

License under specific circumstances

When a work is first published and

  1. 7 years has expired for a work of novel, poetry, drama, music or art or any work relating thereof,
  2. 3 years has expired for work of natural science, physical science, mathematics or technology or any work relating thereof,
  3. 5 years has expired for work in any other cases.

And copies of such work is not made available in Bangladesh or such copies are not in sale in Bangladesh for a period of 6 months and not available for general public or available at a reasonable price by the owner or heirs or authorized representatives, then an interested person is allowed to make an application before the Copyright Board for obtaining license reproduce and publish such work in printed or analogous forms of reproduction at the price at which an edition of such work is sold or at a lower price for the purposes of systematic instructional activities.

Copyright in Bangladesh

Copyright Filing and Fees Bangladesh

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