"If a creative person steals your idea, he's killing his creative ability, if
he steals your art, he's killing his art, if he makes it available to the world,
it won't create the impact you could have created, because it wasn't from the
Protecting the expression of ideas is much crucial than ideas themselves. Even
though technology helps in creating new ideas, the wrong use of technology by
infringing person poses a threat to the privacy of the owner of creative work by
disrupting the balance between shared material and original material. The past
few years have witnessed countless instances of copyright infringement and the
recent being infringement by YouTube and Telegram.
The owner of creative work has the right to seek remedies as set out in the
copyright rules. The copyrighted work has to be protected as it promotes
innovation and contributes to economy by creating economic value.
What is copyright?
Copyright is protecting the expression of ideas of creator's than the ideas
themselves. The two people with the same ideas can express it differently and
the copyright protects "different expression of ideas of the creator” The
creator of original work is entitled to enjoy the benefits of copyright for his
or her lifetime plus 60 years following the death. In India, the protection to
the copyright holder is governed under The Copyright Act of 1957.
protects original works of authorship, such as literary works, artistic works,
pantomimes and choreographic works, sound recordings, architectural works and
computer software and so on. The copyright protection provides certain
privileges like rights to modify, distribute, perform, create, display and copy
the work to the copyright holder. The copyright protects works fixed in the
tangible medium expression such as words on a piece of paper or music notes
written on a sheet.
Benefits of CopyrightEconomic growth:
Copyright is all about protecting innovative ideas.
Innovations which is hallmark of technological progress helps a country to grow
economically. The application of new and unique ideas creates a work which is
beneficial for people and satisfied their mutual demand. Copyright protects
creator's right and encourages them to make many more innovations and this helps
a country to grow economically.
Exhibition of copyrighted work:
One of the main advantage of copyright
protection is that copyrighted work can be exhibited without any fear of getting
infringed and also the author or creator can pass on the rights of his or her
work to other person only as per his or her consent. Copyright restricts the
sales of copied work of original product created by the author or creator and
thus prevents the original author from the losses.
India, a land of different cultures and traditions. From many
centuries the Indian cultural artworks are been liked by the other people
globally and sold in the international market due to high demand because of the
rich quality and variety. As we all know a high demanded products attract fraud
people for duplicating the product and as a result our country's cultural value
was diminishing. Copyrighting the cultural artworks will prevent the duplication
of the work and hence our country's cultural value will be enhanced once again.
It means a claim or a right is protected by a law or an act
and it's violation is punishable. Since copyright protection comes under the
Copyright Act, 1957, therefore, any violation of rules mentioned their is
punishable as per the law.
There is a lot of risk associated with the innovation. The
capital invested can prove worthless if the unique work is being copied and due
credit is not received by the creator. A copyright ensures that the expression
of ideas is protected. Copyright will drive innovation in creative industry. As
the work is being copyrighted, creators will keep making innovations. And so,
copyright industry in next few years will be at a higher position. Therefore,
copyright will foster developments in our country.
What is Copyright Infringement?
Copyright infringement is illegal use of the copyrighted work which are
registered by the respective authors or creators or publishers. Infringers
violate the exclusive rights granted to the copyright holders.. It implies that
the rights afforded to a copyright holder, such as the exclusive use of a ‘work'
for a set period of time, are being breached by a third party.
Acts involving copyright infringement:
When any person, without the licence provided by the owner of the copyright or
the Registrar of copyright under Copyright Act or in contravention of the
conditions of the licence or of any Condition imposed by a competent authority
under Copyright Act:
When any person:
- does anything, which is an exclusive right of the owner of the
- permits for profit any place to be used for the communication of the
work to the public and if such work constitutes copyright infringement in
the work, only if that person was aware and had reasonable ground to
- makes infringing copies for sale or hire or lets them for hire or
displays or offer for sale or hire by way of trade
- distributes infringing copies either for the purpose of trade or to such
an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright
- publicly exhibit infringing copies by way of trade
- imports infringing copies of work into India
The civil remedies are the most common remedies availed in case of infringement
of copyright and the civil remedies are covered under section 55 of the
Copyright Act, 1957.
Civil remedies for infringement of copyright:
- Interlocutory Injunctions
When any work subsists copyright infringement, the owner of the copyright can
seek interlocutory injunction, the most important remedy. The owner of the
copyright is entitled to all remedies such as injunction, damages and accounts.
However, if the defendant proves that at the date of infringement, he was not
aware and had no reasonable grounds to believe that copyright subsisted in the
work. In such a case, the plaintiff cannot seek remedies other than injunction
and a decree for whole or part of profit made by the defendant by selling the
infringing copies as the court deems reasonable.
In the case of literary or artistic work, the name of the author or the
publisher will appear on the copies of the work published or on the work when it
was made as the case may be and if the issue of copyright infringement is
raised, the person whose name so appears or appeared shall be considered to be
the author or publisher of the work unless the contrary is proved.
The cost of all parties involved in a copyright infringement case shall be in
the discretion of the court.
- Pecuniary Remedies
Under section 58 of the Copyright Act, 1957; copyright owner can seek his rights
against a person possessing or dealing with infringing copies. If any person
uses infringing copies of any work which subsists copyright and all plates used
or intended to be used for the production of such infringing copies are
considered to be the property of copyright owner and for the recovery of the
possession or conversion, he can initiate the proceedings. However, copyright
owner cannot seek remedy for the conversion of infringing copies if the opponent
- That he wasn't aware of the fact that copyright subsisted in the
infringing copies and there was no reasonable ground to believe
- That he had reasonable ground to believe that infringement of copyright
was not involved in such copies and plates.
- Mareva Injunction
Copyright owner can also seek for Mareva injunction when the court believes that
the defendant is trying to delay or obstruct the execution of any decree being
passed against him. The court has the power to direct him to place whole or any
part of his property under the court's disposal as may be sufficient to satisfy
the decree. This is provided in Order XXXVIII, Rule 5 of the Civil Procedure
Code, 1908. In general sense it means freezing injunction which means a court
can order which restrains someone from removing their assets. It is nothing but
an interim relief which is granted or given during the pendency of a court
proceedings or at the completion of proceedings. It is essential as it restricts
the respondent to deal with his assets in his ordinary business course. This
injunction differ from others as it includes such assets which are not
necessarily the part of the subject matter of the case.
- Anton Pillar Orders
Copyright owners can also seek for Anton Piller orders, as if necessary, the
court in a civil action to allow an applicant to enter the respondent's premises
to inspect, search, seize in order to preserve and prevent the destruction of
incriminating evidence. The order was originated in England but has been very
useful for applying in Indian cases like National Garments vs National Apparels,
Mohit Bhargava vs Bharat Bhushan Bhargava and Ors, and the list goes on.
Criminal remedies define certain copyright infringement as criminal wrong and
provide for the punishment and prosecution for the infringing individual or a
legal entity. The criminal remedies are secured by the state. To have legal
protection in cases of wilful trademarks, counterfeiting or copyright piracy,
Article 61 of the TRIPS agreement requires member nations across the world to
provide criminal procedure and penalties. In India the subject of the criminal
offence for the copyright violations are covered under Chapter XIII (Sections 63
to 70) of the Indian Copyright Act of 1957. A person, who knowingly infringe or
abets in the infringement of copyrighted work is liable to be punished under
section 63. However, as per the provision of section 63, the lower punishment
would be imposed by the court with regard to amount of fine and term of
imprisonment if the infringement was not made for the gain in the course of
trade or business.
Criminal remedies under the act provides for:
- Imprisonment of a minimum term of six months and a maximum term of three
- Fine imposed shall not be less than Rs 50,000 and may extend upto Rs
- Search and seizure of infringing goods
- Delivery of copyrighted goods to the copyrighted owner.
The High Courts in India have different outlooks as to whether Section 63 is a
cognisable offence or not. The Delhi High Court in State Govt. Of Nct Of Delhi
vs Naresh Kumar Garg stated that the offence under Section 63 is bailable. The
Kerala High Court in Abdul Sathar vs Nodal Officer stated that the offence is
cognizable. Recently Bombay High Court has reiterated that non-IPC offences
punishable with "up to three years” and, will be categorised as cognisable and
Cases involving copyright infringement
UTV Software Communication Ltd. And Ors Vs 1337x. To. And Ors.
In the case of UTV Software Communication Ltd. and Ors Vs 1337x.
Ors, the plaintiff, UTV Software Communications Ltd, were involved in the
business of content creation, production and distribution of cinematographic
films around the world including India. It filed 8 suits against defendants
claiming that the defendants, certain identified websites ‘John Doe'
(Defendant's website) along with Ministry of Electronics and Information
Technology, Department of Telecommunication and various ISP were involved in
hosting pirated content and allowed downloading and unauthorized streaming of
Plaintiffs' copyrighted works without their authorisation. To all this, an
effective remedy was sought by the plaintiff in the form of injunction.
The Delhi High court held that Defendant Websites were hosting copyright
infringing content and were rogue websites. The high court granted permanent
injunction in favour of the plaintiff and also awarded the cost of litigation.
The High Court recommended MeITY and DoT to frame a policy in which fines may be
levied against the viewer who continues to watch infringing content.
Sajeev Pillai v. Venukunnapalli And Anr
In the case of Sajeev Pillai v. Venukunnapalli and Anr,
Sajeev Pillai, a film director and a script writer claimed that he has
researched the history of ‘Mamankan', a festival held once every 12 years. He
prepared a script based on that. Pillai signed Memorandum of Understanding with
Kavya film Company which was linked with Kunnapalli, the 1st respondent and
supposed to be the producer in the movie. Pillai who was appointed as director
was terminated and replaced by someone else. To this Pillai filed suit for
relief. He also filed an interim injunction application to restraint the
respondent from releasing, distributing and exploiting the films and restrain
from pre-release publicity till proper authorship is not given to Sajeev.
The court held that as per Section 57(1) of Copyright Act, the author has the
right to claim authorship even after an argument of copyright in a work. And so
Pillai has a legal right to claim authorship over it.
Impacts of Copyright Infringement on Society
Cause of unemployment:
Copyright is generally a protection tool used in entertainment, media,
publishing and journalism industry. Copyright infringement of work from the
above industries can create a huge negative impact on the minds of the author or
creator of the work and can be the cause of unemployment.
Tax revenue loss:
Loss for government because if non copyrighted material will be sold in the
market, it costs would be less than the original material and therefore the
government will receive less tax.
Lack of credit:
If the contributions made by the authors are not valued, they might not be
interested in making further innovations and so there could be absence of
creativity in fields like art and literature. The lack of credit will demotivate
them and this will ultimately lead to less inventions.
Protection of consumer:
In a world captivated by digital media, many pirated websites pose a harm to its
viewers. If a viewer visits any pirated website and if the website is not safe
or have some features that could violate viewers privacy so this could impact
the viewer also and hence the protection of consumer comes into question.
Increase in criminal activities:
By copyright infringement, infringers are making huge money which creates a
negative impact in the society as it can boost the other people to do the same
and they can make huge money in short duration as a result increasing in
criminal activities in our country.
For the last two decades, India has been one of the world's most growing
economy. The growing industries and new inventions have helped in boosting the
Indian economy. The successful run of any business is important for an economy
to run smoothly and copyright law has helped in protecting the work and
advancing the business under hassle free environment. Even though digitalization
has provided opportunities to the creators to showcase their talent or creative
work but at the same time issue of copyright infringement has also been raised.
Despite of having provisions of punishment, incidents of copyright infringement
are on rise. Several efforts have been made to solve this issue. However, in
this current competitive world, still a lot has to be done.
- Shubham Rungta - BBA LLB-2 YEAR) from Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College, Pune. and
- Bhargavi Nimje - BBA LLB-2 YEAR) from Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College, Pune.
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