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Understanding Copyright and Copyright Infringement

Copyright is a legal concept that protects the exclusive rights of creators and owners of original works, including literary, artistic, musical, and dramatic works, computer software, sound recordings, and films. Copyright law is intended to promote creativity and innovation by giving creators and owners the exclusive right to control the use of their works, including the right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and display the work.

These rights are granted automatically to creators upon creation of their work, without the need for registration or any other formalities. However, copyright owners may choose to register their works with government entities, such as the Copyright Office, to create a public record of their ownership and to be eligible for statutory damages and other legal remedies in case of infringement.

Copyright laws vary from country to country, but they all share some common principles and exceptions, such as fair use/fair dealing, which allows for limited use of copyrighted works without permission for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses a copyrighted work without permission or authorization, which can result in legal action and damages to the copyright owner. Creators, publishers, and users of copyrightable materials need to be aware of copyright law and how it applies to their work to avoid infringement claims.

Importance of Copyright Laws:

Copyright laws and protections are important for the following reasons:
Protecting creators' rights:
Copyright laws give creators exclusive rights to their work, protecting them from unauthorized use, distribution, or reproduction.
Encouraging creativity and innovation: When creators are assured of protection for their works, it encourages them to invest time and resources in creating new and original works.
Promoting economic growth: Copyright laws also help promote economic growth by providing a framework for licensing and selling creative works, which in turn creates jobs and revenue.

Fostering artistic expression: Copyright laws help to foster artistic expression by giving artists the freedom and protection to create and share their work without fear of infringement.

In summary, copyright protections are essential for encouraging creativity and promoting economic growth while also protecting the rights of creators and preserving cultural heritage.

What is Copyright Infringement:

Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of someone else's copyrighted materials. This includes photos, videos, music, text, or other creative work. These materials are protected by copyright laws, and it is illegal to

There are 2 types of rights under Copyright:
  1. Moral Rights:
    Moral rights are the rights of the creator of a copyrighted work to maintain control over the integrity of the work and protect it from being distorted or mutilated. These rights include the right of attribution, which means the right to be identified as the author of the work, and the right of integrity, which means the right to object to any modifications or changes that may damage the reputation of the work or the reputation of the author.
  2. Economic Rights:
    Economic rights are the exclusive rights of the creator of a copyrighted work to use and profit from the work. These rights include the right to reproduce, distribute, publicly display, and prepare derivative works of the original work. Economic rights allow the creator to control the commercial exploitation of the work and to benefit financially from its use. These rights are often assigned or licensed to others for a fee or royalty in exchange for permission to use the work.

Can Copyright be claimed worldwide? For how long does a person get a copyright?

Copyright protection varies by country, with different laws and regulations governing the scope and duration of protection. In general, copyright is an automatic right that is granted to the creator of an original work of authorship, including literary, artistic, musical, and various other types of creative expression.

The duration of copyright varies by jurisdiction as well, but in most cases, it lasts for the life of the author plus a set number of years after their death. In the United States, for example, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. However, some jurisdictions have much shorter copyright terms, while others may have longer terms or no term limits at all.

As for claiming copyright worldwide, a person automatically holds copyright in their original works in all countries that are members of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, an international treaty that sets minimum standards for copyright protection. However, it is generally advisable for authors to register their works with the national copyright office in their own country or with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which can provide additional protection and facilitate the enforcement of their rights.

What is Copyright Infringement?

Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of someone else's copyrighted materials. This includes photos, videos, music, text, or other creative work. These materials are protected by copyright laws, and it is illegal to use them without permission from the owner.

There are two types of remedies against Copyright Infringement in India, i.e.:

  1. Civil Remedies
  2. Criminal Remedies

Copyright Infringement Civil Remedies:

Civil remedies for copyright infringement include:

  • Injunctions: An injunction is a court order that requires the infringer to stop infringing. An injunction can be permanent or temporary, depending on the nature of the infringement.
  • Damages: Damages refer to the financial compensation that the infringer is required to pay to the copyright holder for any losses they have incurred due to the infringement.

    Damages can include both actual damages (i.e., the economic harm to the copyright holder) and statutory damages (i.e., a predetermined amount of damages as specified by law).
  • Account of profits: An account of profits is a legal remedy that requires the infringer to pay the copyright holder any profits they may have generated as a result of the infringement.
  • Destruction or delivery up: This remedy requires the infringer to destroy or return all infringing copies of the copyrighted work.
  • Pre-trial injunctions: Also known as a temporary restraining order (TRO), this remedy allows the copyright holder to obtain an injunction before the trial to prevent further infringements from occurring.
  • Criminal sanctions: In some cases of serious copyright infringement, the infringer can face criminal charges and sanctions, which can lead to imprisonment, fines, or both.
It is important to note that the availability of these remedies may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. It is recommended to consult with a legal professional to determine the most appropriate course of action in cases of copyright infringement.

Copyright Infringement Criminal Remedies as per Indian Laws:

As per Indian laws, copyright infringement is a criminal offense and is punishable under the Indian Copyright Act, of 1957.

The criminal remedies available for copyright infringement under Indian laws are as follows:
  • Imprisonment:
    A person who is found guilty of committing copyright infringement can be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than six months which may extend up to three years.
  • Fine:
    In addition to or instead of imprisonment, the court may also impose a fine that can range from Rs.50,000 to Rs.2,00,000 depending on the severity of the offense.
  • Seizure and forfeiture:
    The court can also order the seizure and forfeiture of materials used in the commission of copyright infringement, such as infringing copies, plates, and equipment used for making infringing copies.
  • Injunction:
    The court can also issue an injunction restraining the infringing party from further infringing upon the copyright holder's rights.
  • Damages:
    The copyright holder can also claim damages for any loss suffered as a result of the infringement. The damages could be either actual damages and profits made by the infringing party or the statutory damages as provided under section 51 of the Copyright Act.
  • Criminal prosecution:
    In case of repeated offenses or commercial scale infringement, the copyright holder can initiate criminal prosecution against the infringing party
In summary, Indian laws provide for severe criminal remedies for copyright infringement to deter and punish offenders.

Copyright is an exclusive right to protect the rights of the creator and it encourages more creative and innovative work and protects it from getting stolen. Copyright never protects the idea but it protects the work that came out of that innovative idea. Though there are many copyright restrictions and issues, the understanding of copyright law and fair use dealings would direct us to use copyrighted content for academic and research purposes securely.

A sufficient level of understanding of copyright problems needs to be conceived ring/ before the procurement/subscription of any resources. At this point, an agreement/contract/terms and conditions between concerned parties on the procurement of resources would play a major role, in protecting copyright holders.

As a facilitator, the librarian regularly needs to educate his users about copyright issues. And this could become one of the important factors that would play a major role in the decline in copyright violations among library users. As per the Indian copyright act 1957, it is very clear that neither the publisher nor the facilitator is responsible for any infringement of copyrighted material, but a person who is involved in the activity of infringement is solely held responsible for his act of misconduct.
Written By: Simran Sobti

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