Section 31A

Compulsory licence in unpublished or published works

1 - Where, in the case of any unpublished work or any work published or communicated to the public and the work is withheld from the public in India, the author is dead or unknown or cannot be traced, or the owner of the copyright in such work cannot be found, any person may apply to the Commecial Court for a licence to publish or communicate to the public such work or a translation thereof in any language.

2 - Before making an application under sub-section (1), the applicant shall publish his proposal in one issue of a daily newspaper in the English language having circulation in the major part of the country and where the application is for the publication of a translation in any language, also in one issue of any daily newspaper in that language.

3 - Every such application shall be made in such form as may be prescribed and shall be accompanied with a copy of the advertisement issued under sub-section (2) and such fee as may be prescribed.

4 - Where an application is made to the Commercial Court under this section, it may after holding such inquiry as may be prescribed, direct the Registrar of Copyrights to grant to the applicant a licence to publish the work or a translation thereof in the language mentioned in the application subject to the payment of such royalty and subject to such other terms and conditions as the Commercial Court may determine, and thereupon the Registrar of Copyrights shall grant the licence to the applicant in accordance with the direction of the Commercial Court.

5 - Where a licence is granted under this section, the Registrar of Copyrights may, by order, direct the applicant to deposit the amount of the royalty determined by the Commercial Court in the public account of India or in any other account specified by the Commercial Court so as to enable the owner of the copyright or, as the case may be, his heirs, executors or the legal representatives to claim such royalty at any time.

6 - Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this section, in the case of a work referred to in sub-section (1), if the original author is dead, the Central Government may, if it considers that the publication of the work is desirable in the national interest, require the heirs, executors or legal representatives of the author to publish such work within such period as may be specified by it.

7 - Where any work is not published within the period specified by the Central Government under sub-section (6), the Commercial Court may, on an application made by any person for permission to publish the work and after hearing the parties concerned, permit such publication on payment of such royalty as the Commercial Court may, in the circumstances of such case, determine in the prescribed manner.

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