INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT? WHEN, WHERE AND HOW TO SEEK RELIEF?

Authors:

Manav Bhagat, Nirma University

Subhadra, SOA National Institue of Law

Kaushalya, TNNLU

Editor: Varshita Girish, Christ Insitute Bengaluru



INTRODUCTION

What if you compose an amazing song which you know for sure is going to be a hit and would earn you lots of money, but you are afraid that people might copy the tune or even in the worst scenario sell the song under their name upon its release. How can you protect your work and your rights from this misfortune? The answer is simple. COPYRIGHT! All you need to do is get your work registered from the Registrar of Copyrights.

The primary question that comes in mind of many is: What does copyright mean?

Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings and computer programs, tables, and compilations. It is a bunch of rights among other rights such as the rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation, and translation of the work. There can be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work of the creator.[1]

In this article, we will be looking into the procedure of registration for copyright, infringement, and remedies regarding the same.

THE NEED FOR COPYRIGHT

In our country, most of the people are unaware of the intellectual property laws. The only awareness that is present is limited to certain well-developed cities. Though it is not mandatory to get your work copyrighted it is always recommended to do so for various reasons. By registering for copyrights, one significantly reduces the chances of his work getting copied and misused. A copyright registration acts as a public record of your work as well as legal evidence of ownership on your work.

In the case of original literary work, music, the duration of copyright is the lifetime of the author. He can be at peace as his work is protected from getting copied or misused. Furthermore, by creating an atmosphere conducive to creativity, more and more original work can be created. By getting it registered, one can reproduce it in various ways such as making a sequel to a book or a cinema. In this way, he can make economic benefit to himself. Even if one’s work gets copied, he can always file a suit and can seek legal remedy as someone has infringed upon his copyright. In today’s age, it is highly advised to get one’s work registered under the Registrar of Copyrights to avoid future troubles and create more work without any worries.

THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK OF COPYRIGHTS IN INDIA

Section 13 of the Copyright Act, 1957[2] lay downs the items which can be conferred with the copyright which includes (a) original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work such as paintings sculpture, drawing, portraits, etc. (b) cinematographic films, (c) sound recording, tunes, background music, etc. Copyright can also be conferred to compute software and table compilations according to this section. The term ‘Original’ here means that the work of the author is created by himself and has not been copied from anywhere else.

Section 14 of the Copyrights Act explains what copyright means. It states that the owner of the copyright has been vested with certain rights according to the provisions of the Act, which includes the right of adaption, right of reproduction, right of publication, right to translation and right to communication. The copyright is created the moment the original work of the author gets completed.

Section 51 of the Copyright Act[3] explains what copyright infringement is. The conditions necessary to prove copyright infringement are:

  • Any person who does any act which the copyright holder can exclusively do without the consent of the copyright holder.

  • A person reproduces the work of the copyright holder without his consent.

  • A person imports infringed copies of work.

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is intentionally or unintentionally used, reproduced or publicly displayed without the consent of the copyright holder. It means that the rights of the copyright holder such as exclusive use of the work are breached by a third party. Examples of copyright infringement include-

• Recording movies in the theatre.

• Using copyrighted music in your videos.

• Using someone else's photographs for your benefit or promotion without the consent of the original creator.

• When you are using someone else’s work without giving them the credit.

To avoid copyright infringement, you may purchase the authorized work from the Copyright holder or may be granted to use those works through licensing arrangements. The reason some people engage in copyright infringement is a high price for authorized work or lack of access to the authorized work.

Copyright and plagiarism are very similar in some aspects but they are distinctively different. Plagiarism is when someone claims someone else’s work as their own without giving proper acknowledgement to the original creator. However, the act of plagiarism doesn’t include any legal liabilities.


REMEDIES FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

In the case of copyright infringement, the owners are entitled to certain remedies. There are their kinds of remedies against infringement of copyright i.e. civil remedies, criminal remedies, and administrative remedies.

Civil remedies:

Civil remedies are given under Sec. 55 of the Copyright Act[4].There are two kinds of civil remedies.

  • Prohibitive civil remedies

  • Compensatory civil remedies

Remedies included in prohibitive civil remedies –

  • Interlocutory injection

  • Mareva injection

  • Anton Piller orders

  • John Dee orders

  • Permanent injection

In most cases, the matter never goes beyond the Interlocutory stage. Copyright owners want speedy and effective relief to prevent further infringement of his copyright and further damage to his business. He can't simply wait until the full trial takes place. Therefore, the plaintiff is provided Interim relief by law. It has a tremendous advantage because the defendant can be stopped at the earliest which prevents further loss of Plaintiff.


Criminal remedies:

These remedies provide for imprisonment up to 3 years, fines, seizures of infringing copies and delivery of infringed copies to the owner.


Administrative remedies:

Procedure:

  • The owner of the copyright is required to send a notice to the commissioner of custom.

  • Order by the commissioner- Commissioner may pass an order treating the infringed goods as prohibited goods.

  • Detainment by a customs officer.

  • Order from competent court providing instructions on the disposals of such goods within 14 days from the date of the detention.

DRAWBACKS OF COPYRIGHT

There are several benefits of copyright law similarly there are some cons too. Copyright is not interminable after the expired time it falls into the public domain and anyone can use for their gain. When someone registers his work for the copyright, he has to pay a little amount of money and after the expired time, he has to pay more money for registration. Also, copyright doesn't allow you to openly share your work even if they are not using the content for their benefit. These may be considered as loopholes of copyright.

CONCLUSION

The Copyright Act of 1957 [4] has laid a strong foundation for people to create original content and be fearless of their work getting copied. With the Copyright Amendment Act of 2012 [5], it just keeps getting better. Though it may seem like a hassle to register one’s work under the Registrar of Copyrights, but is always best to do so. As doing so it not only reduces the chances of getting copied but also protects one’s work and it is always easier to seek relief from the judiciary when the work has been registered under the Copyright Act of 1957.


[1] Hand Book of Copyright Law, Copyright.gov.in (2020), http://copyright.gov.in/Documents/handbook.html (last visited Jul 2, 2020). [2] Copyright Act, 1957, No.14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India). [3] Id. [4]Copyright Act, 1957, No.14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India). [5] The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012, No.27, Acts of Parliament, 2012 (India).

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