The continuous evolution in e-commerce and e-business has led to an important apprehension to companies and organizations to protect their intellectual property rights online. In today’s world, cybercrime does not only confine itself to fraud, cyberbullying, and Identity thefts but also to the infringement of copyrights and trademarks. It is very important to protect online content and for that very purpose, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Cyber laws cannot be separated.
Intellectual property – It simply refers to the rights involving the original creation of work and invention in a tangible form that has the capacity to be copied multiple times. It encompasses the possession of thought or design by the one who came up with it. It offers the owner an exclusive right, that makes it unlawful to copy or reuse that work without the owner’s permission/consent.
There are numerous intellectual property tools for the protection of the original works. Notable among these are the following:
- Geographical indications
- Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits
- Trade secrets
- Industrial Designs
Cyberspace is the non-physical realm over which the communication between computers takes place through different computer networks. With the widening of technology, every individual has a right to retrieve cyberspace and share details. In cyberspace, sometimes private information is shared by a person who is not the owner. Hence, privacy is violated. One makes a profit from another person’s creation.
This article analyzes “Copyright” which is an Intellectual Property Right.
What is Copyright
Copyright protection is provided to the owner of any published artistic, literary, dramatic, or scientific work over his work to eliminate everyone else from using that particular work in his own name and their wide gain profit from it.
When these particular copyrights are used by anyone without the permission of the real owner, it sums up the transgression of such copyright. When copies are made of software that is distributed on the Internet and sold by any person other than the owner, it amounts to copyright infringement. Copying from any website or content from the blog of others also results in a copyright violation.
Copyright is threatened by the emerging digital presence of technology, particularly the ‘internet’, where the distribution of digitally imitate files has the capability to occur at an extremely high speed and at no cost.
Copyright refers to the legal right of the owner of intellectual property. In understandable terms, “copyright is a right to copy, It means that the original creator of the content or of any thought and anyone they have given authorization to is the only ones with the right to reproduce the work”.
How Copyrighting Works
Under copyright law, a work is considered original only if the author has created it from his own independent thinking without any duplication. Whomsoever has an original work of authorship automatically has the copyright to that work, which is preventing anyone else from using it. The copyright can be registered deliberately by the original owner.
Copyright does not protect all types of work like ideas, discoveries, concepts, or theories. This means that any speech, discovery, musical scores, or ideas have to be first written down in a physical form in order to be protected by copyright.
Challenges faced In Copyright issues
- Deep Linking: It allows the user of the website to go to another website on the Internet without leaving that website that he is using. It is done by clicking on a word or image in one web page. Linking damages the rights or interests of the owner of the webpage.
Case law – In Shetland Times, Ltd. v. Jonathan Wills and Another, the Shetland News’s deep link to embedded pages of the Shetland Times’s website, through the use of the Times’ website’s news headlines, was held to be an act of copyright infringement under British law and an injunction was issued for the same.
- Software Piracy: It is also covered under Indian Copyright Act. This is knowingly making use on a computer of an infringing copy of a computer program.
Piracy can be of 9 types:
- Soft lifting
- Software Counterfeiting
- Uploading & downloading
- Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing
- Copyright infringement on social media
- Illegal use of database
- Illegal use of computer software
Remedies of violation of the copyright in cyberspace
When copyright is infringed, the owner of the copyright has the right to sue for damages, injunctions, profit of accounts, and delivery of infringing goods. Copyright holders whose rights have been violated can get their rights back in a number of ways from Indian courts. One of these steps is to order that all copies that don’t follow the rules, even master copies, be taken away and destroyed.
Copyright holders can also get monetary compensation from the courts. This can come in the form of monetary damages, statutory damages, court costs, and attorney fees.
The Copyright Act of 1957 gives three options for what to do if someone breaks the rights of others:
- Civil Remedies (Sections 54–62),
- Criminal Remedies (Sections 63 and 63B), and
- Administrative Remedies.
The Act gives the person who has been wronged the following legal options:
- Account Conversion
- Destruction of Infringing Copies
When Copyrighted contents are used without permission, the owner of the copyright has a number of options for civil remedies. He has the right to sue the person who broke his rights and ask for monetary damages. Damages for infringement are mostly based on how much the value of the copyright has dropped because of the infringement. Damages for conversion, on the other hand, are directly related to how much money the person who did the infringement made since the infringing copies are made by the copyright owner’s property. Civil remedies are meant to make up for the loss that the copyright owner has suffered because of the infringement.
History of Copyright Act in India
The law of copyright was spread in India over three phases. The law was introduced during the reign of the British in 1911. The second phase of this law was introduced in 1914. It was similar to the British copyright act 1911. The major change in this act was the criminal sanction for infringement then this law was constantly amended and the third phase of this law was introduced by an independent Indian in 1957 which has the provisions of the Berne convention. India is following this copyright act 1957 till date.
As per the Indian copyright act 1957, copyright is valid only within the borders of India. To secure protection in foreign countries, India has become a member of the international conventions on copyrights and signed an agreement with the Berne convention for the protection of literary and artistic works, the universal copyright convention, and a multilateral convention for the avoidance of double taxation of copyright royalties and trips. India evolves many changes in the intellectual property regime since 1995.
Copyright and Related Rights:
- The Universal Copyright Convention (with Protocols)
- The Geneva Treaty on International Registration of Audio-Visual Works, 1992.
- WIPO Copyright Treaty, 1996
- WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty, 1996
The owner of the Copyright has the following rights:
- Right of Reproduction
- Right of Communication
- Right of Adaption
- Right of Translation
- Moral Rights
According to the Indian Copyright Act 1957, other rights related to various types of copyright stated in the handbook are as follows:
- Rights in dramatic and artistic work
- Rights in musical work
- Rights in sound recording
- Rights for computer programs
Registration Procedure for Copyrights
Copyrights automatically come into existence as soon as the work is created. However, if the work is registered then it gives economic benefits to the owner. Registration of copyrights is done in the Copyright Office of the Department of Education situated at Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi. The entries made in the Register of Copyrights serve as prima-face evidence in the court of law.
Recent Cases of Infringements
The top two cases of infringements in India during 2019 are discussed below:
Case 1: Sajeev Pillai v. VenuKunnapalli & Anr
Issue: Whether the author of work even after the assignment of work will have special rights to claim authorship of his work provided under Section 57(1) of the Copyright Act?
Facts: The appellant, Sajeev Pillai, a film director, and a scriptwriter claimed to have researched the history of the grand festival Mamankam and prepared a script for a movie based on the same epic. He met VenuKunnapalli and signed an MoU with Kavya Film Company which was associated with Kunnapalli. Sajeev was initially appointed as the director but then his service was terminated and was replaced by someone else. The shooting of the movie was thereafter completed which Sajeev alleged was done by mutilating, distorting, and modifying his script. Sajeev in light of that filed a suit seeking various reliefs. An interim injunction application was also filed to restrain the respondents from releasing, publishing, distributing, and exploiting the film and issuing pre-release publicity without providing adequate authorship credits to Pillai as per film industry standards.
Judgement: In deciding the issue, the court noted that the first sub-section of Section 57(1) provides the author to restrain third parties and the second sub-section provides the author the entitlement to claim damages by such third party in respect of any distortion, mutilation or other modifications to his work or any other action, in relation thereto which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation. This provided the appellant an unparalleled advantage in the case and that his assignment of the work would not exhaust the legal right to claim authorship over it.
Case 2: Tips Industries v Wynk Music
Issue: Whether there exists a statutory licensing scheme under the Copyright Act for online streaming services?
Facts: Tips Industries Ltd (Plaintiff) is an Indian music label that exercises copyright over a significant music repository that, in 2016, granted Wynk Music Ltd (Defendant) a license to access this music repository. At the expiry of the said license both the parties attempted to renegotiate the licensing conditions but failed to do so and hence Wynk took refuge by invoking Section 31D of the Copyright Act. Tips challenged Wynk’s invocation of Section 31D and prosecuted Wynk pursuant to Section 14(1)(e) for breach of their exclusive rights of sound recording.
Judgement: After hearing the contentions of both the parties the Bombay High Court came to a conclusion finding Wynk to be guilty of direct infringement on two counts-
1. To offer the copyrighted work under section 14(1) (e) (ii) which allowed the users to download and listen to the plaintiff’s work offline and
2. Under section 14(1) (e) (iii) for communicating the plaintiff’s works to the users via their streaming service.
In developing country like India, Intellectual Property Rights are very much important and plays a vital role in societal development. To progress and compete with developed countries, more patents, copyrights, trademarks, and GIs should be filed or registered internationally. So, it is very essential to spread awareness of IPR amongst the people. IPR can be included in the education system and registration of IPR can be promoted by encouraging innovators or creators.
Copyright has changed over time because of changes in technology. With the growth of the Internet, especially the World Wide Web (WWW), copyrights are now being used in new cyberspace. When copyright in cyberspace is looked at, new opportunities and threats are found. But these new changes come with new risks, many of which also hurt the rights of people who own copyright. Most of the time, these threats are bigger than the opportunities that cyberspace offers. This means that cyberspace needs more rules to protect copyright.
Copyright is an important element of IPR. Writers, musicians, and artists should be encouraged to register their art. According to the Copyright Act 1957, the Copyright registration process in India is very easy at a reasonable fee.
The owner of copyrighted material can grant a license and transfer some of the rights to other person for financial benefits. However, there are some issues with non-profit organizations related to Copyright Act which will be discussed in future articles.
- Mahawar, S. (2022, June 7). Analysis of copyright issues in cyberspace. iPleaders. https://blog.ipleaders.in/analysis-of-copyright-issues-in-cyberspace/#Remedies_of_violation_of_the_copyright_in_cyberspace
- Copyright: An important element of Intellectual Property Rights. (n.d.). Legalserviceindia. https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-2176-copyright-an-important-element-of-intellectual-property-rights.html
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