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Copyright Infringement

Copyright Infringement

Man’s ideas are both public and private in their essence. The owners’ and people’s ideas and works are generated with uniqueness and creativity, and they are released into the public domain. Previously, these works and films were not adequately protected, but the legal landscape surrounding copyright gradually changed, and actions were taken to further safeguard copyright-related works from unauthorized exploitation and usage. As a result, copyright has recently evolved as a statutory right in the areas of printing, music, entertainment, and computers, among other things. The primary intent for introducing the legislation related to copyright was for protecting the interests and works of the author or the owner, secondly for providing general benefits in form of incentives, and thirdly assuring relief if there is any case of copyright infringement.

The problem arises when there are cases of infringement and violation of copyright use despite the fact that original works of copyright are protected. The subject of copyright is brought to the fore when parties wilfully take unfair advantage of others and cause economic and financial harm. Advances in technology have made it easier to develop and replicate creative works, but they have also led to an increase in piracy and exploitation. People have begun to adapt protection for their respective works in order to preserve uniqueness and creativity as a result of the surge in copyrighted content theft. The person whose work concerning literary, musical, artistic, cinematographic has been infringed, then in those cases, the owners have a right of exclusivity for suing the third parties for the offenses of infringement and passing off.

The law of copyright embarks its essence for not being permitted to make a profit and for appropriating himself the incentives of labor, skill, and capital of another. At every stage of the law of copyright, the author of the work has been granted exclusive rights with respect to restrained acts. If such acts are performed and used by another person without prior consent and authorization, then the person is said to have infringed copyright in the original work of the author. The action for infringement of copyright can be taken under Section 51 of the Copyright Act, 1957. The acts which would constitute the acts of infringement are:

  1. If the owner of the copyrighted work has exclusive rights, and such work has been used by the other party without a license.
  2. If there is any permission being accorded for a venue for the purpose of communication of the work in the public domain for profit without a license, where such a communication would result in the infringement of copyright.
  3. If the party is involved in the making, selling, and offering for sale or hiring any infringing work and making it available for the public domain. 

The action for infringement can be taken under the following acts:

  1. If the work has been copied or duplicated for illegal use and exploitation with respect to literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, or cinematographic. 
  2. If the original contents of a cinematographic film have been duplicated, copied, and pirated.
  3. If any original verses, lyrics, and the composition of a musical or sound recording have been copied and channelized in the formation of a new recording.
  4. If in the cases of performance, the rights of a performer are misused.

Any forms of copying, modifying, reproducing, duplicating, and pirating a work of the original creators and owners without proper authorization and permission have been referred to as infringement. However, the offense of infringement has to be proved by following essential fundamentals:

  1. The plaintiffs or the party aggrieved by the actions of the other party, and who want to claim remedies of infringement must prove the essence of ownership.
  2. The plaintiffs or the party aggrieved by the actions of the other party, and who want to claim remedies of infringement have to prove that their exclusive rights have been violated or infringed. 

However, these are not the only essentials that have to be considered while deciding a case related to infringement, as the courts have from time and again pronounced judgments with respect to copyright infringement.

In the case Sony Pictures Network India Private Limited vs. And Others., High Court of Delhi, CS(COMM) 289/2021, the plaintiffs namely Sony Pictures were the real owners and broadcasters of the websites for the telecast of the cricket matches between India’s tours of England and Sri Lanka. It was in 2021 when the disputes arose between the parties when it was observed by the plaintiffs that the defendants were infringing their rights of exclusivity. Aggrieved by the action of the parties, the plaintiffs filed a suit against the defendants for copyright infringement under Section 51 of the Copyright Act, 1957. The court granted an interim injunction in the favor of the plaintiffs and also ordered the ISPs for blocking rogue websites and asked the Government of India for providing appropriate directions with the purpose of preventing infringement of copyrights of Sony Pictures in the matches.

In the case of Dassault System Solid Works Corporation & Another vs. Spartan Engineering Industries Private Ltd. Another, High Court of Delhi, CS(COMM) 34/2021, the plaintiffs were the companies involved in the development of software named ‘Solidworks’, which facilitated modeling, and development of products in a three-dimensional environment, and had copyright protection on their developed software. It was in May 2018, when the plaintiffs received information regarding the misuse of their works which were being exploited and used by the defendants. The plaintiffs were aggrieved by the actions of the defendants and filed a suit claiming remedies of an injunction for copyright infringement under Section 51 and claimed that the defendants had committed contractual and copyright infringement due to the violation of the End User License Agreement. The court while granting an order of injunction in the form of ad interim ex parte in the favour of plaintiffs opined that the infringement of software is even though not referred for providing protection, then also deserves to be protected in case where it is novel and original. Additionally, the courts also restrained the defendants from illegal use or exploitation. 

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