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Copyright Law in India

The Author tried to lay a deep emphasis on the crucial use and significance of Copyright Act for the budding Lawyers, who are pillars of legal fraternity in the Nation. The Intellectual Property Rights are very much important having regard to the dynamic needs and changing environment of the Corporate Governance, in which the statutes and legal fraternity plays a pivotal role.

The Copyright Act, 1957 is a prominent legislative enactment, safeguarding the rights of the creators, authors, or makers of any artistic or unique creation which may be in form of a book, musical composition, article, dramatic works, etc. A person violating these rights of the owner or author which includes right for publishing, reproducing and commercializing the creation, shall be dealt stringently according to the statutory provisions of the Act.

What Is Copyright Law In India?

The Copyright Law in India is governed in accordance with the Copyright Act, 1957, which extensively protects the rights and interests of the Authors for their original works in the form of Book, Dramatics, Poems, Articles, Music, etc. There are several mandatory requisites for using the protection under the Act by the aggrieved individual, which are as follows:
The content must be original: It is indeed to note that the content of the Author or Creator, must be original and not plagiarized from anywhere, as a right of copyright cannot be exercised on someone else's creation.
  • The content must have a value:
    The content of the creator or the author must hold a value for the society, as a worthless creation cannot have a copyright under law.
  • The content must be innocent:
    The content of the person, claiming the copyright must be innocent and made in good faith, any content which is inspired by malice, defamatory meanings, innuendo, mis-representation, fraud, deceit, etc., cannot be held as a sound copyright, under the Act.

It is pertinent to mention here that a Copyright is infringed when, third party acts in contrary to provisions of the act, or in absence of the consent of the author or creator of that particular work, and either sells her work for some commercial benefit, and shows it as his own creation, despite it is not, with a mala-fide intension to derive some monetary or other benefit from the same.

Significant Provisions Of The Act:

The significant provisions, under the Act are as follows:
  1. Section 14:
    This Section is the soul of the whole statute, as it enunciates the Meaning of Copyright, in various cases which are as follows:
    • For Literary, Dramatic or musical work:
      Mainly to reproduce the work in any material form, to publish, to perform in public, and to produce, reproduce or publish any translation of the work.
    • For Artistic Work:
      Mainly to reproduce the work in any material form, to publish, to include the work in any cinematograph film, and mainly to make any adaption to the work.
    • For Cinematograph Film:
      Mainly to make the copy of the film, to forecast the film with visuals and sounds in public, utilizing any sound track of the film, and communicate the same by radio-diffusion.
    • For Records:
      Mainly to make any other record embodying the same recording, and to cause the recording embodied in the record to heard in public.
  2. Section 45:
    The section deals with the entries in the Registration of Copyright upon the application of the Author or Creator of the Work. The concerned Author/Creator may make an application in the prescribed form accompanied by a prescribed fee, to the Registrar of Copyright for his/her registration, who upon the Receipt of the same, may after holding an inquiry, enter the work in the Register of Copyrights. It is pertinent to mention here that Registration of Copyright in optional and not mandatory, as your copyright is safeguarded by law, even if it is un-registered.
  3. Section 51:
    The section elucidates, when a Copyright shall be deemed to be infringed, when:
    • Where any person, without license from the Author or Registrar of Copyright, or acting ultra-vires to the provisions of the Act or in an imposed condition by the competent authority, does an act, whose exclusive right is conferred upon the owner of the copyright, permits for sake of profit, at any place to be used for the performance of the work, where it results into infringement of copyright, unless he acted in good faith and innocently, without a guilty mind.
    • Where any person, sales or hire, or lets for sale or hire by way of trade displays or offers for sale or hire, distributes either for the purpose of trade to such an extent and in such a way, that it prejudicially affects the copyright of the owner, by way of trade exhibits in public or imports in India.
  4. Section 52:
    The section enunciates, that when an act shall not institute an infringement of copyright, these are actually exceptions to infringement of copyright, they are, when:
    • There is a fair dealing with the musical, artistic, dramatic or literary work for research purpose and criticism or review
    • There is a fair dealing with the literary, musical or dramatic work for reporting the current events in any newspaper, magazine or news portal, or by radio-diffusion or in a cinematograph film by means of photographs
    • There is reproduction the work (any) for the purpose of judicial proceedings or judicial reporting
    • There is reproduction or publication of literary or artistic work in any work prepared by Secretariat of any Legislature, exclusively for the sole use of members
    • There is reproduction of any literary work in form of a certified copy, supplied in accordance with the law being in force''
    • There is recitation or reading in public of any reasonable extract form a published literary or dramatic work
    • There is a use of literary or artistic work in a bona-fide way for the use of Educational Institutions or in so described in the title and in any advertisement issued by or on behalf of the publisher

Remedies On Infringement Of Copyright In India:

The Remedies for Infringement of Copyright under the statutory provisions of Copyright Act, 1957 are classified as:
Civil Remedies and Criminal Remedies, which are as follows:
  • Civil Remedies:
    The Section 55 of the Act states that, where any copyright work has been infringed by any individual, then except provided otherwise by the Act, the owner of the work, who is actually the aggrieved shall be entitled for all such civil remedies, which are conferred by law in the form of Injunction, Compensation, Damages, etc.

    However, if the defendant proves that, on the date when such infringement took place, he was un-aware about such copyright, and has acted in good faith with due diligence, then the plaintiff will not be having any other remedy than, Injunction in the instant case.

    The Court will be having exclusive and absolute discretionary powers for granting costs in any legal proceedings to all the parties, in the case, or as the case may be.
  • Criminal Remedies:
    The Chapter XIII (Section 63 to Section 70) of the Act, describes the offences and penalties, on infringement of Copyright in India.
    According to Section 63 of the Act, if any person, who knowingly, infringes or abets the infringement of:
    1. The Copyright in a work, or
    2. Any other right conferred by this Act
      Shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or fine or both.

It is indeed to note here that, the ambit of the provision extends to Any Person, which includes a body corporate, person, Company, Firm, Organization, etc.
The second thing, which must be minded here is that the element of knowledge is must for the offence to be proved in court of law, otherwise it will be held as Rectification of Copyright or will further lead to dis-missal of petition. As an offence cannot be committed without a guilty mind and mala-fide intension, contrary to which makes it a simple mistake and not offence in the eyes of law.

Case Laws: It is must and significant for us to understand the judicial stand on the issues of Copyright Infringement in India, which in the form of few important case laws are as follows:
  1. In the case of Caterpillar Inc. v. Kailash Nichani & Ors. AIR 2001, It was held by Hon'ble High Court of Delhi, that the jurisdictional aspect in which the trade is being carried out by the defendant is not necessary to show the infringement of copyright, it is sufficient to show that the business which is carried on by the defendant is wrongfully infringing the copyright of the plaintiff.

    The plaintiff in the instant case, was a foreign company, who was carrying on business activities in several places of India, including Delhi, in which the defendant was infringing their copyright by carrying on his trade operations, however dealing in different category of goods.

    The Court also stated that, Jurisdiction is not an impediment for deciding the case for infringement, as the legislature in it's wisdom has laid down under Section 62 of the Act, a norm completely opposed to that in Section 20 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in order to eliminate un-necessary hardships to the aggrieved, and exposing the wrongdoer with such stringent provisions of law.
  2. In the case of, Sanjay Soya Pvt. Ltd v. Narayani Trading Company, 2021, it was held by Hon'ble High Court of Bombay, that the registration of the Copyright under Section 45(1) r/w Section 51 of the Act, is optional and is on the exclusive discretion of the owner of copyright, however, non-registration of copyright is not a prior condition for instituting a suit for infringement and claiming of copyright by the owner, under the statutory provisions of the Act, as the law protects even the un-registered copyrights, which are made by the sweat and hard-work of the owner of copyright.

The plaintiff's company, in the case was engaged in production and sale of refined Soya Bean Oil, whereas the defendant's company was counterfeiting and using the same label for selling similar soyabean oil products in the market.

It was found that, the variations in both the labels are too minor, that it would not be possible to differentiate them, from one another, hence it is a clear infringement of copyright, on the defense of the defendant, that label is not an artistic work and hence is beyond the purview of Copyright Act, 1957, the Court pointed out that, this contention is wholly in-correct and a label is an artistic work, as the original artistic work is in the label, which in inseverable from it, and hence it received copyright protection under the Act.

The Copyright Infringement is a very crucial issue with is having it's own significance and sensitivity in India.

However, there is strong and immense need to amend the Copyright Act, 1957 and Informational and Technology Act, 2002, with having regards to the growing and changing needs of the society and legal world, and covering the e-world under the ambit of copyright protection.

Finally, with an acute hope that our country will definitely pay heed on the changing needs of society, working on the spirits of Satyamev Jayate, I conclude my article on the note that hopefully, India will soon observe a revolutionary transformation in the Copyright Law, with more stringent and competent provisions under law, dealing more effectively and efficiently with the modern contingencies and issues of copyright infringement in the Nation.

End Notes:

    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Yashraj Bais
    Awarded certificate of Excellence
    Authentication No: SP124911620153-06-0921

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