Copyright Law in India is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 and is at par with its international standards. Unlike many other laws, copyright infringement is not limited to territorial infringement. Copyright Law is a way of protecting and ensuring that the creator remains the rightful owner of his creative efforts or creative labor. To begin, one must know what forms of "work" are protected under the Indian Copyright Act of 1957. In one line, “ideas are free from copyright, but not the expression of these ideas.” The Act of 1957 provides a broad definition of creative “works”.
1. It includes artistic work such as painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, a map, chart or plan), an engraving, a photograph, a work of architecture, and any other artistic craftsmanship, cinematograph films such as sound recording, visual recording, any process analogous to cinematography including video films.
2. It doesn't matter if the work possesses any artistic quality since that is largely a matter of perception.
3. The creator of the artistic work is usually the first creator of the work. Thus, in relation to literary or dramatic work, it is the author of the work; musical work - composer; artistic work - the artist; photograph- the person taking the photograph; cinematograph film or sound recording - the producer; in case of computer-generated work - the person who causes the work to be created.
4. With the advent of a booming IT industry, the copyright of computer programs is also relevant today.
5. The computer program includes any set of instructions expressed in words, codes, schemes or in any other form, including a machine-readable medium, capable of causing a computer to perform a particular task or achieve a particular result;
6. Dramatic works include any piece for recitation, choreographic work or entertainment in dumb show, performances by performers, the scenic arrangement or acting, form of which is fixed in writing or otherwise but does not include a cinematograph film;
7. Even Government Work is defined in the Act of 1957 as any work that is made or published by or under the direction or control of Government or any department of the Government, Legislature, court, tribunal or other judicial authority in India.
8. Special emphasis is laid on the copyright of phonographic works, which are sound recording s in various forms such as phonograms, CD-ROMs, etc.
Infringement of any of the above mentioned works, that is, unauthorized reproduction of the work in any form (whether print, sound, video, copies like cassettes, digital recordings, unauthorized broadcasting, translations in different languages, etc.), copying of the work etc. is prohibited.
Legal Remedies for Copyright Infringement:
The following Remedies are available against infringement of Copyright:
This includes a grant of orders like Injunctions, Damages, interpretation of accounts, prohibiting delivery, selling of copyrighted work, destruction of copied work, the grant of damages to the original owner. Civil remedies are the most commonly availed remedies for copyright infringement.
- Interlocutory injunctions can be sought as a civil remedy. An interlocutory or interim injunction is granted until a permanent injunction is granted and before the conclusion of the trial. It must be noted that damages cannot compensate for the author's loss, and therefore, injunctions are the proper remedy. The interlocutory injunction provides immediate relief and promptly stops continuous violation of the author's copyright.
- Monetary Remedies: Under section 55 and 58 of the Copyright Act, 1957, any author whose copyright has been infringed can seek compensation for monetary damages suffered due to said infringement. The author can claim Accounts of Profits, that is, seek compensation equivalent to the profit gained by selling of copyrighted work. The author of the work may also seek conversion damages, whereby the author is awarded damages on the basis of the value of the copyrighted work(s).
- The court can also issue search and seizure orders (where it is necessary to immediately stop the spread of unlawfully copied work/material). Such orders are issued against the public at large and the police are granted permission to seize and destroy the work. Unwitting sellers of copyright infringed works are most-often biggest loss bearers in such circumstances.
This includes remedies in the form of imprisonment to the offender, the imposition of fines, and search and seizure orders against copyrighted work, delivery of seized work to the original owner. The Act provides that 'intentional infringement' or abetment is a criminal act and liable to be punished by:
- Punishment by imprisonment amounting from six months to three years
- Fines may be imposed on the amount of Rupees 50,000 or more, extending up-to Rs. 2, 00,000.
- Search and Seizure orders may be given to immediately stop-transfer or movement of infringing work.
- The court can order immediate delivery of copyright infringing work to the original author.
This is also called as border enforcement sometimes. It relates to ordering destruction or stopping cross-country movement of copied work. This kind of prohibition requires the intervention of custom and border administrative authorities.
A suit for copyright infringement can be filed at the District Court.